Friday, June 22, 2012

Kuniyoshi Triptychs Part 1

I'm back on the blog! Man it's been a long time since I've touched this, but I've read a lot of manga, played a lot of Cave Story, and have watched a hell of a lot of Star Trek! I've returned to the civilized world now to share my treasure haul of findings! This post is concerning my current Ukiyo-e fascination. A master none other than the floating world's finest, Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Well let me think about that... Edo period's finest... well I'd actually have to pit Kuniyoshi against Hokusai for that title... man they're just too hard to compare and call a single winner. I'm happy to just say, Kuniyoshi = Triptych King! Hokusai = Landscape Legend!

As you'll notice by the following examples, 'Triptych King' is no overstatement - Kuniyoshi made hundreds of them. They're all good and many of them are positively wonderful. It's hard to choose but I've started with three depicting samurai doing outragous things. Samurai - lords who ruled as demi gods over the rest of humanity. I find it an odd circumstance because from what I know about that way of life, while on one hand, holding personal and family honor at such high value, they at the same time also trampled and disvalued life they considered dishonorable and scorn-worthy. That's basically anybody not of noble descent! Anyway...

Below we see a samurai lord having a king-sized temper tantrum. From the looks of it he's spent the last few minutes trashing this estate in desperate search of a misplaced item. It must certainly be quite valuable for him to have become so outraged - valuable enough that if missing it might cost him his honor and with it, quite possibly his life. Poor people around him... He appears to be blaming them and I'll bet heads'll roll if that item's not found soon.

The next two are my favorite Kuniyoshi triptychs. I love them both, yet for very different reasons. Both capture the essence of an mirachous moment in time. The "split second" type. The "Blink and you'll have missed it" type moments! Directly below we see what was a second ago, obviously a heated game of go. Two samurai, each accompanied by his own entourage, were satisfied with the game enough to keep their blades sheathed. Well one of them must have said something that ticked the other off because now somebody's gonna get killed! Man! Look at all the stuff going on! White and black go pieces flying everywhere! Guards rushing in to restrain the center dude who, like Hercules, is hoisting of the game block up and has a courtesan by the hair! Sugoi!
Phew... lets calm down... next favorite - an ocean scene. Three badasses are swimming their horses across a bay, with the obvious intention of getting the jump on their camped opponents. Upon closer inspection however you'll notice that this isn't acctually such a calm depiction after all. Notice the arrow about to pierce the central horse's throat?! Talk about a miraculous moment...
I plan to do several more Kuniyoshi posts as well as some Hokusai soon after that. Stay tuned for more great media. And if you like what I've shared here don't hesitate to pass this blog on to your art fan friends. I want more followers yo!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Golden Age of Sprite Animation Part 2

Now here's the good stuff... As my buddy Hyun and I say, "Capcom is King!". I've heard that they make great fighting games. I'll have to take your word on that 'cause I suck at fighting games. I love 'em for their character design. The Street Fighter roster is full of iconic Characters; Cammy with here lightning-camo leg paint, Morrigan with here Halloween leggings, Chun-li with here INCREDIBLE thighs! These guys look great painted on the side of an arcade cabinet but they're at their best while in motion!

Included in this selection alongside the original Street Fighter and Darkstalkers characters are some Marvel comics superheros. Capcom has managed to enhance everything about these them - they've never looked so good. Check out Juggernaut's fists! They're enormous compared to what you'd see in a Marvel comic book. This is yet another example of how the Japanese improve whatever they lay their hands on. Americans are known for innovation, Japanese for augmentation.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Golden Age of Sprite Animation Part 1

 I like how the face changes...

 This animation was from a special in-game event where players, after defeating this special 'Event Baphomet', were rewarded with a special item.
 This dude has a slow walking pace but if he gets close enough he'll slash you at a super speed!

 A hammer and sickle on his helmet...

 Did you catch the tiny smile at the last second?

 Sooooo weird!

Click on the images to watch them move!

Ragnarok animated sprites can look a bit stiff when compared to some Capcom glory from the same period, but one can't deny how clever some of the character designs and animations are in some of these. I've posted my favorite attack and death animations. The Orc Lord attack animation is especially ingenious. Somehow his mid-air twist comes off looking natural, even when he shifts from facing forward to facing backwards in a single change of frames. recommend searching for large sized monsters)

Also included here are two Metal Slug sprite animations - actually I think the big Metal Slug tank is from a non-Metal Slug SNK game. Something makes me wanna say it's from a fighting game...

FFVII Loss-less Background Images

I just stumbled upon the website of a German programmer who is ripping all of the background images from the PSX version of Final Fantasy VII. Markus Shroder's process produces loss-less .png image files. Here are some samples.

If you look at his site you'll notice that the most of the game's heavily animated backgrounds are visually buggy. I hope he irons it all out - I'd like to have a complete and pristine FFVII background collection. I emailed him asking if he planed to do the same for FFVIII and FFIX. Still waiting for a reply.

Anyone with coding skills should consider shooting him an email. Help him clean this collection up!