Moon Child (2003) I’m Just a Teenage Vampire, Baby.

Cover of "Moon Child"

Directed by Takahisa Zeze (RaiyoDog Star),  Moon Child was co-written by Zeze, Gackt  and Kishû Izuchi. The film marks the film début of both Gackt and Hyde. It’s cast also features Tarô Yamamoto (Battle Royale, Get Up!), Ryo Ishibashi (The Grudge 2Audition) and  Susumu Terajima (Brother, Ichi the Killer).

Moon Child has two distinctions, it is the first and only feature film written by Gackt and it features not one, but two film début’s of Japanese rock stars, Gackt and Hyde. Although Gackt had been in a television short feature, Hero’s Hero in 2002.

When Moon Child opened it was savaged by critics. Even the usually more than fair Snowblood Apple, gave the film a very poor rating and pretty much disliked everything about the film.

While the film was mainly aimed at the two rock star,s fans, it is still a decent film and one that I felt had not been done before.

Moon Child opens with three children inadvertently robbing a Yakuza gang member. As the children start to die as a result, Kei (Hyde) comes to their rescue. Kei is a ‘teen’ vampire who one of the kids (Sho) had helped before the incident and Kei is returning the favour.

Several years pass and the Sho is now a young adult. His ‘gang’ comprises his brother Shinji (Susumu) and his child-hood friend Toshi (Yamamoto). These three cross paths with Son (Leehom Wang,) who is out to avenge his sister’s rape by another gang. The gang now numbers four with an ‘unofficial’ number of five with vampire Kei.

 

Given that the film opens in 2014 and that the Japanese economy has been decimated, the film could almost be prophetic. We are treated to three different time periods in the ‘gangs’ life. The first time period, deals with bonding and death.

In actual fact all three time periods deal with bonding issues and death. Not surprising when you consider that they all operate on the wrong side of the law.

The film deals with life, death, love and loyalty. Unfortunately, both Hyde and Gackt are quite obviously new to the acting field, it shows, but they do remarkably well for first timers. The other actors being more experienced to save the film to a degree. Yamamoto gives a heart wrenching performance as the ‘less than sharp’ friend who dies quite early in the film.

In fact my only complaint, was that we didn’t get to see enough of Yamamoto,  Ishibashi, or Terajima. The film tries very hard to emulate director John Woo‘s style of story telling. There are a lot of shoot-outs and wire work stunts. Unfortunately the limited budget does slightly affect these scenes.

Overall I really feel that Moon Child does not remotely deserve the hammering it initially received and still gets today. It was a sterling first effort by Gackt and Hyde. The story was different and despite the minimal characterisation of the main players you still grew attached to the main protagonists.

So despite the poor reception and the poor reviews I think that this film is a must-see. Especially is you are a Gackt or Hyde fan. To be honest the main reason I watched the film was to see Tarô Yamamoto. I had just fallen in love with his performance  in Battle Royale. I wanted to see something else he had done.

I can think of no other film that is a Gangster/Vampire film. That alone makes it worth the price of admission. The fact that they have used this as the basis of their film is commendable. That they haven’t made the film only about that is admirable. You could really call Moon Child a ‘coming of age’ film. We are allowed to see the character’s grow-up and change as and when it is necessary.

Kei the vampire is easily the films most tragic character. Trapped in a Peter Pan world not of his choosing, his world is a bit more simplistic than that of his comrades. The other members of the gang must deal, with death, revenge, betrayal and heartbreak.

But don’t watch the film expecting to see a ‘Count Dracula’ type film. The film is not about Kei. It is about how Kei sees the gang and his interaction with it.

I guess you could say it is a human interest film about a vampire and his friends.

.

Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning
Spring cleaning (Photo credit: Bianca Nogrady)

Okay, I know that I’ve kind of missed the spring cleaning season. But not by a lot. Especially if you go by the weather. The calendar may say summer, but the weather says spring. That’s my excuse and I’m not changing it.

I’m not referring to the spring cleaning you do to your house. I talking about spring cleaning my ‘blog’ and it’s dusty contents.

I’ve made it pretty well known that I am a wordpress junkie. When I decided to make the switch from Blogger I moved all my old posts over with me. So there are quite a few that haven’t seen the light of day for a while. So I have been dragging them out and giving them a good old dusting off.

I have also been ‘tarting’ them up a bit. You know, adding a few pictures, putting in some links and giving them some tags and categories. In essence making them look prettier.

I’m sure I can hear some of you grumbling. A few of you muttering under your breath about ‘re-runs’ and serving up the same old crap again. I guess that my only excuse is that like a Thanksgiving turkey, you’ve got to keep serving it till it’s all gone.

If you don’t like that metaphor (or is it an allegory, I’ve always had a tendency to mix the two up) think of it like television. If I skip the idea that I am spring cleaning. I can always say that I’m giving folks another chance to see the original before moving into the fall season.

I guess if I am honest with myself, the reason I’m trotting out the ‘older’ posts, is a (perhaps misplaced) sense of pride. I like  my old posts. And I kind of want the folks who follow me, or just stop by for a quick visit, to see if they like em.

Almost like a proud parent dragging their child out to ‘perform’ for the visiting relatives. “Wow, Mike. that kid of yours can really sing!” (or dance, act, juggle, I’m sure you see where I’m coming from here). If you don’t like that image, replace with, oh I don’t know, a performing dog or cat.

I can also admit something else. Here, come in a little closer, I don’t want everyone to hear this. I’m sometimes a little bit lazy. Did you get that? I don’t want to have to repeat it. I don’t want it to get out too much.

So there you go. If you’re wondering why I’m shoving leftovers in front of you, now you know.

I’m a lazy proud papa who wants to show off his ‘babies.”

WordPress versus Blogger.com

WordPress
WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

I will openly admit to loving wordpress.

Don’t think that this declaration of love was easily given.  But, dog-gone it, I’m impressed. I have had a blog on wordpress for a fraction of the time I’ve spent on Blogger.com and Tumblr.

Image representing Blogger as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

In the very short time-span I’ve had three to five times the amount of views per post that I was getting on Blogger. And of coure, Tumblr never shows you how many folks have stopped by.

I will admit that I was a complete ‘noob’ in the world of blog posts and blogging.  But I got stuck in and decided that I did have an opinion about lots of things and I wanted to share it. Not to mention, I like writing almost as much as talking so blogging gave me an outlet.

Image representing Tumblr as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

I wish I had started with wordpress rather than immigrating over from  the other blog sites. But I didn’t know any better! I had no idea that you could put tags and categories to link to your blog post.

I also didn’t realise just how user friendly wordpress is.

In half the time it took me to set up my previous blogging accounts, I had set up a new one in wordpress. They had a huge amount of free and ‘not-free’ templates for your site. You have access to Zemanta which makes finding free images a lot easier and it also gives you links to similar articles for inclusion on your blog.

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

WordPress also shed a light on Reddit and StumbleUpon, neither of which I had ever heard of before. Both of these sites have increased views to mine and I’m so glad I found them.

So here’s to you wordpress, my little post of appreciation. Have I told you today that I love you?

Fear…Is An Animal

Male elephant in Etosha National Park, Namibia...
Male elephant in Etosha National Park, Namibia Kiswahili: Tembo katika mbuga la burudani Etosha, Namibia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fear is an animal that can disrupt your life, your well being, your calm. It can be many different kinds of animals.

It is an elephant stampeding through your mind. Wreaking havoc with your normal, everyday routine thinking patterns. It stomps any calm, or peaceful thoughts flat. Rational thought flees from this rampaging beast and cowers, unable to move and unable to fight.

English: This is Vinnie the Ferret in the midd...
English: This is Vinnie the Ferret in the middle of a war dance jump. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It can also be a ferret. Ferrets are used to hunt rats and rabbits, and just like their real hunting prowess, dig into your mind and seek out rational thought. This type of fear, is just as debilitating as the elephant but with different side-effects.

With the elephant you are so immobilized that you cannot think. With the ferret you try to escape the weasley, oily attack. You try to ignore the needle-like teeth and sharp claws that are attacking your normal thoughts.

It can also be a snake.  Twisting and gliding through your thoughts, it hisses and strikes at the rational processes of your brain. Sometimes hitting, sometimes not. The snake is the easiest to live with. However, you spend so much time avoiding the strikes that, again, you are practically immobilized. You can function, but in a reduced capacity.

It can also be a species you have never seen before. The unkown animal can cause a temporary paralysis of the brain. This, however, is temporary. Immediately following the initial paralysis is adrenaline. This floods your system and makes everything seemingly slow down.

While this ‘Matrix-like’ slow motion is occurring, your brain is busy trying to identify this unknown animal. Trying to figure out if the “fight or flight” option is necessary here. But you’d better be quick. For adrenaline with all the ‘superman’ like qualities that it can bestow, is fleeting.

Fear can also be a lion. This is ‘everyday’ fear. The fear we can control or even conquer. Lions can be tamed, overpowered and even killed. All these actions can take a long time. Especially if you are trying to kill the fear.

Most of us face the lion daily. We have become adroit at waving the chair, cracking the whip. Controlling the lion, pushing it back, making it open it’s mouth so we can have a closer look. Because if we can see better, we have a greater chance of controlling it.

When fear attacks our normally rational thought process, we react or we freeze. Whether the attack is prefaced with a trumpet call, an ominous hissing, a roar or complete silence we all react the same.

While I have been typing this post, I have been fighting the lion, looking out for the snake and praying that the elephant doesn’t show up.

Don’t forget to practice with your whip and chair.

Hop, Skip, Shimmy, Jump

I seem to be suffering from a combination of ADHD of the brain and a curious type of lethargy. How the two can co-exist in the same grey mass of brain is puzzling and not a little irritating.

I have thought processes that slowly start to work and wham! The thought that was creakily making it’s way to the front of my mind, hops off into a different direction. Before it can land though, it will skip sideways and then shimmy off to the left. Aha! I think, I’ve got you now. Only to have it jump off into another area altogether and in doing so, causes another thought process to germinate.

It appears that, today at least, I am incapable of grabbing a single idea and riding it to a satisfactory destination. The ADHD part of my brain is finding it impossible to hold still while the thought or idea is forming. It is sort of like taking out a bowl of Jell0 before it’s ready and finding yourself looking at a semi-congealed mess.

Normally, I can juggle several ‘half-started’ ideas at once. I can then control which idea I want to hop on or skip. I can also shimmy a bit to the left or right of the idea and either  choose to stay with that one or to jump to another idea. However it winds up, I am usually in control.

Or at least I think I am in control. That might just be an illusion caused by my believing that I am in charge of my shotgun pattern of synapses.

I can always try to make myself feel more important by thinking, Yep got too many irons in the fire.  Of course the reality is, I have no irons in the fire, not one. I don’t even really think I have a fire to put an iron in.

Oh well, until I can catch a proper thought or idea, I’ll just stay here and let my mind scuttle and scurry like a mouse on  speed. A metaphorical Speedy Gonzales that is zooming from brain cell to brain cell.

Hopefully tomorrow when I wake up in the morning my brain will have relaxed into a more Slow-poke Rodriguez rhythm. That way I can actually grab an idea and see it to a discernible end.

Until then, it’s  ándele, ándele, arriba!