n.a.m.i.e. a.n.i.m.e.

Mr. Kitsune, aka O.M.A.R. (=One-Man Anime Reuters), came out with this story over a month ago: legendary Namie Amuro’s latest song “Dr” was released with an animated video.  I watched the youtube link one time and forgot all about it.

long hair

heroine

A couple of days ago, I was reading over the newest Oricon Top 20 at Tasuki Daisuki’s blog and I saw Amuro’s Wild/Dr double single at # 11.  You can tell how up to date I’m with J-Pop that until that day I actually believed Amuro had been inactive since she became pregnant, what, a decade ago?! It turns out she took a year or two off and then came back.

So I’ve been catching up with a decade of Amuro, and this includes rewatching the “Dr” animation.  All youtube, dailymotion, etc. links are dead but Metanorn has both beautiful screencaps and a link here.  Now let’s analyze!

“Dr”‘s story is one the most commonly seen sci fi scenarios: the future is horrible and a person from the future is sent back in time to warn us past people to reform our ways.  In this case, the Amuro character is cryogenically frozen, and a robotic Doctor Chronos unfreezes her and sends her back first to 2500 (a wasteland), then to 2200 (a warzone) and finally to the year 2000, where she imparts her dire message to a little girl.

White Amuro

Anime Amuro

It’s very clear to me why I wasn’t in love with this video the first time I saw it, even though the animation is superb, the song is epic and, well, Amuro is Amuro.  I lived in Japan when Amuro was the Queen, and the mark of her dominion was the hordes of Japanese girls (the Amurer) tanning their skin to imitate the Okinawan idol.  An ultra-pale, blond blue-eyed Amuro is such a gross paradox it turned me off: as if anime aesthetic preference had overriden the singer’s image in her own PV.  Of course, the video is great and that was just me being silly.

Amuro Amuro

RL Amuro

Avex Trax’s press releases state that the music for “Dr” was inspired by French composer Maurice Ravel’s famous Bolero.  It took me maybe 5 listenings, including checking out the instrumental version, to even begin to pick it up (I’m a slug when it comes to sensory perception of any kind).  The drums in the fast parts of the song, the basic synthesizer(?) line in the slow parts are all Ravel.  Youtube has a gazillion performances of Bolero so do check it out.

There’s a fun fact here that might be worthy of some thought.  A couple of medical studies recently have suggested that Ravel was already clinically “demented” when he wrote Bolero, his most famous work (check at Wiki).  One aspect of Bolero that was heavily criticized when it came out was its repetitive nature, something which people suffering from dementia are wont to indulge in.

doctor is so matsumotoesque!

doctor is so matsumotoesque!

Of course, today Bolero is loved, and nobody seems to mind that pop songs tend to be extremely repetitive.  Could this mean that the human race has been developing a collective dementia in the last century or so?  Food for thought.

Apparently Namie will be releasing a new album with this songs later this year, so that will be something to look forward to.

The Death Star, sure, but also Matsumoto's Andromeda

The Death Star, sure, but also Matsumoto's Andromeda

PS: Sorry about the messy screencaps.

~ by Haloed Bane on April 21, 2009.

14 Responses to “n.a.m.i.e. a.n.i.m.e.”

  1. Goodness that woman is hawt! Good stuff, will look her up and then some.

  2. TITS OR GTFO!

  3. This Amuro is fine too.

  4. @ghostlightning

    Check out the Wild MV as well, then. What I like most about Amuro is that outside of her performaces she mantains a soft-spoken, thoughtful demeanor (an ‘above the fray’ kinda thing).

    @ishimaru

    I understand where you’re coming from, but I simply cannot break my promise to her and show you those pics of us in Montecarlo 😉

    @schneider

    Yes. The animated Amuro is ridiculously nice too. The whole video is very well done.

  5. Uh, animekritik… I think schneider referenced Amuro Ray, the first and most famous protagonist of Mobile Suit Gundam.

  6. Oh, you mean the girl in the avatar?? Looks kinda Heidiish.

    [Amendment] It’s a dude? According to Wikipedia, Amuro Ray is considered “culturally significant”.

  7. One-Man Anime Reuters! lol

    Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any oil monopolies 😛

    The character design reminded me of this one.

    One of the most interesting examples of Bolero is in an excellent scene depicting woodcutter going through the forest in Kurosawa’s Rashomon 🙂

    As for dementia, here is a nice case study 😛

  8. Evil bunny pressed the button too early: last like should be this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdOWqQbdOR0

  9. Yeah Amuro Ray is culturally significant (as well as Char Aznable) because Gundam is such a big deal. The character has a postage stamp and is part of Japan’s cultural heritage now.

  10. If you like Namie’s music try her 60s 70s 80s single – it’s really retro and fun to listen to 🙂

  11. @kitsune

    And of course “One More Time” is the result of a collaboration between Daft Punk and Leiji Matsumoto, so I totally agree with you! (I’ve been meaning to review those Interstella videos for ages now..)

    The Maximov animation is lovely and sad. Isn’t today’s pop song just like that critter?

    @ghost

    See, that’s a superflat gesture on the part of the Jap. (as in short for Japanese, mind you, not a racial slur!!) govt.: Gundam character on the same postal level as Oda Nobunaga etc.

    @tasuki

    Wow! “New Look” and “What a Feeling” rock. That, along with “Wild/Dr” and a few oldies like “Walk in the park”, “How to be a girl” and my commute mp3 selection is so cool it almost makes me want to go to work!! almost..

  12. Superflat ‘gesture?’ You mean you’re reading the ‘event’ as the culture’s capacity/predilection to level meanings/value.

    But wouldn’t that apply to many countries postage ‘culture’ statements as well?

    http://www.stampsofdistinction.com/2008/06/8-of-worlds-most-unusual-postage-stamps.html

    You may be making superflat too broad a concept, or that it really isn’t originally Japanese.

  13. While the “artsy package” known as “Superflat” is Japanese, I was referring to the underlying cultural (post-modern) trend which of course isn’t Japanese, but global. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day we had evangelion currency going around 🙂

  14. Gotcha! Can’t wait until I can plunk down a thick wad of Misatos to buy a, uh Eva robot toy…

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