Category Archives: Gedo Senki

Beyond the Earthsea

Besides its enchanting soundtrack and awesome dragons, I’m not sure what to say about Tales from Earthsea.

There's something sinisterly funny about this picture

I recently saw the DVD version of it, so keep in mind that I am probably missing out on some of the awesome visuals that Studio Ghibli lays on their viewers on a big screen at a higher resolution.

It’s definitely not a bad film per se. The lead male character is rather admirable for a change, carrying a bit of that Dilandu-complex with him. But the rest of the movie seemed a hodgepodge of Miyazaki troupes strewn together, sometimes without logic.

But maybe that’s enough. People dig Miyazaki’s stuff, so just as long as it seems like it people might like it? (Is this a form of bootlegging?)

There’s not a whole lot I can say about EarthSea that hasn’t been said–the apprentice son director, the disapproving father, the screening with the book series author, and the rest of the meta chronicle is on the internet more than a year ago.

That said, Earthsea is probably a fair shake and bake rendition of the original novels it adopted; not that I fault it (nor am I praising it), but it doesn’t add to the list of accolades your typical headlining Ghibli feature carry. Then again, I suppose no one really cared about Howl’s Moving Castle and how close it was to the book.

A general feeling of balance is tempered by an overwhelming feeling of indifference? Unlike Spirited Away, Earthsea was at least somewhat entertaining. But Earthsea surely is less artful, and that says a lot coming from a guy who wasn’t enchanted by Spirited Away either. I think I’ll refrain from comparing it with any more Hayao Miyazaki works…

Songs from Earthsea

I have a friend who is a huge Joe Hisaishi fan. Huge. We still make fun of him when he chickened out at going to Japan this summer, for Hisaishi’s mini tour thing. Well, we can’t blame him too much; flying to Japan just for a show is a tad extreme, but I think he’s due a trip. This is his copy that I’m enjoying, which is odd because it isn’t Joe Hisaishi.

At any rate, Gedo Senki Kashu (Tales from Earthsea Poetry Book) is actually a vocal album featuring some songs from the Studio Ghibli film, with no involvement from Joe Hisaishi at all, AFAIK. What it is, is the first album by a new vocalist Aoi Teshima. Doubly so interesting is that she plays a character in the movie, too.

But what makes this blog entry happen at all in the first place is how it reminds me of two neat things: KOKIA’s early works, and Akino Arai. The vocal style is rough but soothing, with a stripped and sad-folksy speed to its simpleness. It’s the sort of music that may go with an imaginary dream accompanying a funeral progression at the beginning of a film, or something to that nature.

It’s not all sad, but it is all slow, that said. The CD goes through a variety of moods, but it’s like watching Kino’s Journey; if you “get” one episode, you get them all. And in a way this CD is a journey much like that, too. Our lead protagonist here is a soulful vocal that marches unendingly from one classical arrangement to another, sometimes alone, sometimes with a small troupe. The voice itself is not a bishoujo, either, to stretch the analogy. It would look like someone I’d like to see.