I realized I’d missed the new film from Nitroplus called Rakuen Tsuihou: Expelled From Paradise, so I decided to watch it over the weekend. (Okay, I’ll be honest: the cute butt on this figure coupled with my love of tsundere voice actress Kugimiya Rie were my real reasons for watching.) It’s an interesting story about a cyberpunky future in which a disaster known as the Nanohazard has forced most of humanity to discard their physical bodies and move to a virtual reality paradise called DEVA, their minds digitized inside a computer floating in orbit. When this perfect world is infiltrated by a mysterious hacker from Earth, investigator Angela Balzac (heh) is given a physical body and sent down to investigate. The film was written by “the Christopher Nolan of the anime world” Urobuchi Gen, creator of Madoka Magica, Psycho-Pass and the highly regarded Cthulhu-esque visual novel Song of Saya, and is very entertaining. As is usually the case, anime like Ghost in the Shell, Planetes, Guilty Crown and this new offering do more to present the really big ideas in science fiction than, say, live-action films, which are weighted down with multi-million dollar budgets, top-name Hollywood stars and studio execs determined to drag every project down to their level of mediocrity.
Besides the hard-hitting SF themes of the story, Expelled from Paradise is commentary on the future in another way: it was made entirely using the “cel-look CG animation” system developed by Graphinica, which uses computers to create traditional-looking animation. This is same system used to create the Arpeggio of Blue Steel “moe submarine girl” anime and the excellent Knights of Sidonia, two shows that I enjoyed watching even as I groaned at the unnatural way the characters moved compared to traditional series. Of course, the technology of creating animation has never stopped changing, from Walt Disney’s innovative use of multiple backgrounds moving at different speeds to create depth of field for Snow White in 1937, to the first use of computer inking and coloring in 1989’s The Little Mermaid, which brought an end to the era of hand-painted cels. While I’m personally happy to accept the need for CG to augment traditional animation (mountain racing sequences wouldn’t be the same drawn by hand), I’m personally against trying to capture the spirit of moe without actual human animators being involved, especially when their salaries are already ridiculously low. So, what’s your opinion of the new CG based animation system?
As you know, J-List and our sister company JAST USA are involved in licensing and translating the best visual novels and RPGs in Japan, so you can play them in English with no silly mosaic censorship. We’ve been on a roll lately, releasing the outstanding Littlewitch Romanesque, the Kana Okaeri ~ Welcome Home Kane remake and the brand new “sword opera” Hanachirasu. We’ve got great news now: we’re opening Raidy III up for preorders! The game is nearly done, so preorder the Limited Edition right now!