On the “Road” Again

Create a short video – about one-and-a-half to two minutes long – that describes a character. Use about 3-5 short clips that describe the character’s personality, that portrays what they will be like in the story. Basically you are just taking a closer look at a character before you begin the story so the audience can get to know the characters better.

Make this fun, and interesting, create a story in your blog with this character.

This was, without a doubt, my favorite Video Assignment of the bunch, and while it does add another four-and-a-half stars to my total, I personally think it was worth the full five, if only because of the effort that went into this.

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For starters, I went to the Kiss Anime website, and looked up episodes of Kimagure Orange Road to base my video on. Once I logged on, I was given permission to download whatever episodes I needed, for free, by right-clicking the respective “480×360.mp4” links, and saving my findings on my computer’s hard drive, proper titles and all. To give myself more of a challenge, I only stuck with the original anime series – all forty-eight episodes – that aired from 1987 to 1988. That meant I couldn’t use any of the OVA footage from 1989 to 1991, much less anything from the two full-length movies released to theaters in 1988 and 1996, respectively.

albumkyosuke

The character I chose to focus on is the male lead, Kyosuke Kasuga. Kyosuke’s the oldest child, and only son, in a single-parent family who has had to move to a new town seven times in his life prior to the start of the series. The reason why they move is rather simple, to the point that it’s revealed in the first chapter of the manga and the first episode of the anime: Every member of Kyosuke’s family – on his mother’s side, at least – is an “esper,” meaning they have the ability to teleport, use telekinesis, and use their minds to do various activities, depending on the situation they’re in.

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Once my footage was uploaded, one by one, onto Windows Live Movie Maker, I had to wait several times over to cut the footage at the right time, not only to fit the time limit mentioned at the top of this post, but also to make sure I had enough material to tell a story with what I was able to get. By shear coincidence, the five clips I ultimately chose were all ordered by the release date of the episode they’re respectively found in: Kyosuke’s younger sister, Kurumi, sending him flying across the room with a cabinet was in Episode 1; the family conversation about Kyosuke’s indecisive nature was from Episode 25; Kyosuke’s daydream about his two friends, Hikaru Hiyama and Madoka Ayukawa, fighting it out for his affections was in Episode 32; Kyosuke using his esper abilities, known in series canon as “The Power,” to travel back to the morning before his classmates’ Christmas Eve party was in Episode 38; and the final sequence, where Kyosuke uses “The Power” to scare off a group of bullies harassing a younger Madoka and calling him an alien, was from Episode 47, the first half of the show’s two-part finale. The second half, Episode 48, was referenced in my “Five-Second Anime” tribute, when Kyosuke uses “The Power” to shatter a concrete wall that he was tied to.

The opening and closing credits – red lettering amongst a sky-blue background, was a minor nod to the second set of opening credits from the anime’s original run; this also provided a stronger case of continuity between the two projects, as I already used the first opening in my “Five-Second Anime.” The song that plays throughout the piece, however, has no connections to the franchise at all… well, almost no connections.

Its prompt rejection back then paved the way for the next series he conceived, “Kimagure Orange Road,” an instant success that came to be known as “the Bible for Japanese teenagers” throughout the 1980s.

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Between this, and the constant comparisons – in canon – between Kyosuke and Superman, I had to choose a song that summed up that revelation, en masse. Ultimately, I selected “Superstar,” the title track from Jesus Christ Superstar, to sum up the central gimmick for Kyosuke’s character development, in general, let alone the show as a whole: Although there might be someone among us with paranormal, and even god-like powers, this doesn’t change the fact that, to coin a fitting phrase, even immortals have mortal needs. While I did plan on having either Jay Laga’aia – Captain Typho from the Star Wars prequels – or Murray Head – the guy who went on to sing “One Night in Bangkok” for the Chess soundtrack – sing this one, I knew that there were no clips, involving either of them, that could be cut down to two minutes, at most. On the other hand, there were not one, not two, but eleven other people willing to perform it in their place: the finalists from ITV’s 2012 talent search, Superstar.

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After finding a clip of the fourth episode of the mini-series, that tried to find someone to play the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s UK arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, in which the newly-revealed finalists perform the title track of the musical, and the show, I uploaded the URL over to another website, SaveClipBro.com, which let me save the audio file in MP3 form. After that, I uploaded the file onto Audacity, cut out all but the necessary two minutes, saved everything, exported the audio as another MP3, uploaded that onto Windows Live Movie Maker to start the same time as my edited movie, save the combined product following some minor edits with the credits, uploaded everything onto my YouTube account, and completed my third official Assignment of this grading cycle.

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As for the story this tells, the scenes I selected represent individual character traits attributed to Kyosuke over the course of the franchise: He’s always caught in the crossfire whenever something goes down involving his family or friends; he’s indecisive to the point of being obsessive-compulsive; he doesn’t want to see any of his friends or family members get hurt, physically or emotionally; he isn’t afraid to break the family rules to keep anyone and everyone he knows, including himself, out of harm’s way; and finally, when he does have to resort to using “The Power” to keep his loved ones out of trouble, odds are the end result’s going to serve as quite the shock to those in the vicinity.

When you put them together, though, that’s when you see the maturity of Kyosuke Kasuga, from boy to man, in the vein of those Charles Atlas ads you used to see in magazines decades ago. Early episodes and chapters exposed him as nothing outside of a scrawny weakling, despite having countless superhuman abilities in the family bloodline. His developing friendships, and subsequent love triangle with Hikaru and Madoka, combined with the wacky hijinks triggered by the rest of his mother’s side of the family, allowed him to increasingly gain confidence in his abilities. It isn’t too long before their lives are directly threatened, by which point Kyosuke is now able to save them all, to great effect, by using “The Power” for self-defense. Overall, this was an exciting day for me, and with only two-and-a-half stars to collect, and two Assignments left to earn them, I’m thinking that things are only going to get better.

November 9th, 2015 by
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