Friday, May 28, 2010

SAM - Kitaro

The Suginami Animation Museum has started its next exhibit, this one featuring "Gegege no Kitaro". The mezzanine floor has a statue of Kitaro, glass cases containing example pencil drawings from various TV episodes and movie scenes, descriptions of several of the movies on the walls, and some of the goods that used artwork from the show for advertising purposes (such as swimming pool floats). The fourth floor has statues of the other characters, including Neko Musume. I just wish SAM allowed photos so I could should you the statues - they're very nice.

(Stamp for SAM. Again, the green ink looks really faded on the original stamp, and scans very poorly as a result.)

Naturally, the anime theater is showing some of the TV episodes and movies on the weekends, but it's also running some of the really old Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons from Fleischer Studios, and episodes from "Vandread, the Second Stage". I'd never watched Vandread before, so coming into the middle of the series with episodes 5 and 6 did leave me scratching my head a bit. But, the animation on it is really good, and the space battle scenes are very impressive.

Turns out that a number of the Kitaro episodes have been remade with each new incarnation of the TV show; there are three versions of "Ghost Train" displayed in the exhibit room. At 4 PM, the theater played the original "Ghosts' Night Game" (with a mediocre school team taking a ghost bat that never misses a swing, then having to play a monster team with their souls on the line) and "Ghost Train" (where a pair of disbelieving bullies harass the ghosts in a haunted house and then get a taste of their own medicine). Initially, I was the only one in the theater, but after a few minutes more people started coming in. A group of young girls arrived to sit in the front seats and when some monster suddenly jumped on the screen, they'd squeal in surprise. It's nice to see that the older Kitaro still has his charm.

There was a mention of a stamp rally for the Meitantei Conan exhibit last month, but I missed it. Fortunately, there's a Kitaro stamp rally, too. The stamps are placed next to the exhibit cases, and by the statues up on the fourth floor, and are really easy to find. All the rally gets you is a small Kitaro sticker, but I really just wanted images from the stamps so the sticker was a nice omake. Unfortunately, the green ink comes out really pale and doesn't scan well. The other colors lost their vibrancy as well during the scanning. At least, the quality of the stamp designs still comes across.

(The sticker from the rally.)

I also ended up talking to a few of the volunteer staff working the desks. One of them is currently studying English in order to help answer the questions from foreign visitors. So, if you are a non-Japanese speaking foreign visitor wanting to watch Kitaro anime, there's somebody at SAM waiting to help you.

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