Music of the Month; Dogora

You probably did (not) notice that updating was a bit off last month. You know the usual song; stress, work, the two combined, twists in social life, lack of time and so on and so on. The month went by faster than expected, if I’m being honest. Missed some news I wanted to touch upon, situations and events passed by like they were air. Doesn’t exactly help that I’ve hurt my wrist, so I might end up being economical for the next few weeks when it comes to typing.

That said, why Ifukube music all of the sudden? For whatever reason, I began to listen Ifukube out of the blue this week, and his pieces played on during my off-hours non-stop. There were numerous pieces I never listened to, or took any notice really. Ifukube’s library of songs he composed for Toho alone is very vast, and this song above somehow stood apart. While Ifukube’s songs are rhythmically cohesive all around, something about Dogora VS Self-Defence Force playes differently, as if there are two parallel pieces going at the same time, but always meeting at key points. Ifukube felt that to fully understand movie and its music, the two should always be together, as separately they lose the effect and power they were intended to have. I fully agree with him on this matter. Be it games or theatre or whatever, when you have a scene specifically set to music, the lack of the scene or vice versa will always leave something to be desired. Then again, I still know jack shit about music, so this probably is nonsense babbling.

While this probably would make a post on itself, the whole situation with the leaked Dragon Ball English audio with the voice actors letting things rip like no other. If you want to check ’em out, if you already haven’t, there’s a Google Drive with them. While we could discuss ethics of the situation, like whether or not they were justified to use the soundtrack or the like, I really don’t see any point in this. People at work sometimes have to let some steam out by doing stupid shit and laugh after, or even during, hard work. It’s funny to have a character go balls-to-the-walls wack sometimes and make them say something inappropriate. These bits really are something that should never cross to the customer side of things, and people letting stuff out like this is nothing out of ordinary. It is an open secret that voice actors and people working with them often allow all sorts of stuff going on during sessions to ease things out.

This Dragon Ball example is just the latest thing, though before this the most famous one was the Thundercats leaks from way back when. Hell there’s a page dedicated to them. These two things are the same thing really, be it bloopers, outtakes, leak reels or whatever. The voice actor of original Lion-O, Larry Kenney, discussed that this happens. While some might find these jokes and skits offensive, the American voice acting culture at workplace more or less has it as a working standard. The Japanese working culture wouldn’t allow stuff like this, but at the same time, they often don’t give a damn how shit rolls in Overseas market. Just look at how terrible translations are across the board, be it books, games or movies. Then you have shows that were let do whatever, nobody cared. Cue for Ghost Stories English dub. It’s like a whole show of outtakes. Of course, Toei doesn’t really like this thing at all, considering they are paranoid about how Dragon Ball as an IP is handled, and with the Internet outrage culture making its rounds, Funimation probably will feel some results from this backlash. There’s a whole lot more with one of the VA’s suing Funimation after they fired him for reasons and such, but as I usually say; don’t care about the provider, care about the product.

What’s for next month? I can’t really say. That foxgirl Kickstarter got funded, though there’s not much to talk about it. I’m just glad more people will be able to get their hands on it now that it comes gets an English translation. However, I am pretty sure NijiGEN won’t get funded despite being halfway in, because it has sat there for a week now. Not much to talk about if it fails, but if it succeeds, I’ll be sure to keep tabs on it. Then again, with Ifukube being the music, and music sets the month, perhaps I should make time and rewatch Shin Godzilla in order to expand Themes of Godzilla post. I have found that the more I mull it over, the more stuff I consider I must touch upon. Better just cut my losses and get it done with. It’s just one weekend spend on it, whatever could go wrong? Of course, all the âge related stuff are completely open and I still have a folder on my desktop to remind me that there are few more TSF stuff and other subjects to touch upon. On one hand, perhaps I should cut blogging so that there’s one major post a week, and whatever small ones every time something interesting catches interest, but can’t really see that format working. Yknow, they’d be about as rambly if not even not more so than this post. I’m not going to ask for you to drop a comment if you’d like me to try it out, because let’s be real, nobody would comment anyway.

Remember to sharpen, hone and oil your knives. Sharp knife is much safer tool in the kitchen than a dull one, and the same goes for scissors.

Claims of censorship do not always apply

Here’s a curious case for you to ponder; is it censorship, when you are contracted to fulfill a character design to an employer, and the employer changes after it is from your hands? If you answered Don’t be daft Aalt, if you’re employed and the contract says that the design needs to fill certain criteria, of course it isn’t then you don’t agree with Olivia Hill. Hill recently gave a small jab toward people who argue and are against censorship, in games and otherwise. She claimed that her vision of a character called Astrid was a bold anti-hero character, which was then changed into a generic fantasy anime lady. He calls the executives, who made the final decisions and changes to the character, douchebags and other unsavory names all the while claiming that they cut people out from the studio who didn’t want to work under their rule.

That’s given; if you don’t do your work, you get fired.

Hill’s claims are dubious at best, seeing there are only screenshots and ads given for Evertale, a game I’ve never heard of, but it seems to be your standard gacha mobage. Considering the game’s developing company, ZigZaGame, is a Japanese corporation and I can’t find any connections between Hill and her supposed past studio that worked on Evetale. Instead, it would appear that she did not exactly have to do anything with the game, and as a reply to her post points out, an artist named furuya. English provided jack shit information, as per usual in cases like this, but you can check Kazto Furuya’s Twitter for a post, where he mentions how he finalised and tweaked Astrid’s character a bit. He also has a promotional render on Pixiv. Considering how Furuya acts like most Japanese illustrators and designers working on a game like this, it is far more likely that Hill was blowing some air, taking credit for someone else’s work all the while accusing of Furuya, and by that extension people of ZigZaGame, of being pedophiles due to Astrid’s design, on or out of bikini. Astrid however does not look like your twelve years old warrior woman as Hill claims, might I add. She looks like any other generic teens-to-thirties Japanese cartoon character.

While I can’t disapprove Hill’s claims about her previous studio (unnamed) or what sort of work she ultimately did there and to whom it went to, Hill doesn’t offer any proof either. However, I’m going to trust what Japanese sources and especially what Kazto Furuya himself says with traceable sources and call her out on bullshit. However, she does claim to live and work in Japan and places herself in Tokyo, so maybe she was part of writing house that wrote the initial treatment for Astrid. Still, that alone doesn’t confirm anything really over Furuya’s case.

That out of the way, let’s reconsider her claim; if executives changes your character design to fit the marketing better, is that censorship? No, that’s just business.

To use a comparison, the censorship Sony is currently practicing is different. It is not one and the same company putting pressure on its own hired workers to finish on an agreed product. This is an outside company, from whom a developer and/or publisher has bought a license to publish a product on their platform. While some may justify Sony’s censorious practices by the fact that PlayStation is their platform and they have the full control over it, other may not agree with that notion fully. The guidelines are muddled at best, demanding developers to send their products to be vetted in English, damaging the relationship between Sony and third party developers. It should also be noted that some products, that already were on release schedule and ready, were veto’d afterward. Simply because Sony can does not mean they should, but their arbitrary rulings are always an outside force, not something that comes from inside the developers’ houses.

Let’s assume Astrid was an experienced warrior woman clad in black first. That’s the first bit I have problems with, as black is such a goddamn dull choice of armour colour in a fantasy setting. If Astrid was changed from this simple description to her much younger looking form, which still would appear to be a high-ranking warrior in a red armour on her own rights, there has been no censorship. It is no surprise to anyone that a work changes as it goes forwards. It didn’t meet up with the standards, it wasn’t what was needed or demanded of you, it does not fit the overall plan or the groundwork and so on. The reasons are numerous. A writer or an illustrator, artist even, are not hired for a company just because they can create something, but that they could create something for the corporation to market and make profit of. If you are employed in any way to produce content like a character design and background, you are expected to deliver by the books. Unless your contract has a miracle clause that says the corporation has to release whatever you do without them touching it, you are there to work for them and they are the ultimate beginning and end for your work.

It always seems like artists’ visions get trampled when someone changes it within a company. The fact is, often these visions are costly and/or not marketable. If an artist has that much faith in his given work, he can tweak it enough not to infringe on the corporation’s rights and publish something with that would be more along the lines of that original vision. Majority of the time, whatever character design work you do, that work is owned by the employer  by default. In very few cases, the creator retains rights to the character or whatnot they have created. American comic’s industry is well known for this, and it has been a long time discussion who should own the rights to created characters; the writer/artist, or the company? As I’ve mentioned, if you’re happy to give your work to a corporation as per contract, there’s no reason to dilly dally and doubt.

It is not uncommon knowledge that games change according to what investors and executives want. Video and computer games are a business after all, their main goal and drive is to make money. Unless you’re a big dick on a company or its head, your vision means jack shit if it is in the way of making some dough. That’s why people who consider their vision utmost importance either work their way into this position or put up their own companies to realise their goals to the best extend they can. No one’s work is untouchable when they’re working for someone else. With ZigZaGames, they seem to put fun first and foremost. To quote their website, If a game ultimately fails to be entertaining, we will never release it, no matter the funds or the effort we have put into it. Taking everything at face value, it would seem that Hill’s initial treatment wasn’t fun enough, and more resources were expended to tweak the character to fit the game director’s and main illustrator’s vision. Again, that’s not censorship. That’s polishing aspects of a product before release.