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Movies Recommended by the Students

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From 2012 to 2016 I worked as an English teacher in Recife. After I had returned from Japan due to the financial crisis in the US, I found myself living with my brother, completely isolated in my room. My aunt grew concerned about my mental faculty so she ordered me to get a job to at least socialize. I had no idea becoming a teacher would be so rewarding. Teaching the grammar lessons were fine once you got used to them, but the fun part were the conversation classes. Every week the teachers had to come up with topics for dialogues among teacher and students so they could practice their English. The class lasted one hour and the structure was usually divided into two parts. First a warm-up phase where the teachers asked several questions to each student regarding a particular topic. I started with broad questions and gradually got more specific. On the second part, the teacher introduced the subject of the class, either a text, a movie, or a song. If the subject was something really popular, like movies, music, etc. and there were many students; there would be no time for the second part. I preferred using text. I loved using articles from big news websites like New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, BBC. I hoped the students grew confident as they read common articles from the best sources.

Whenever we talked about films, I would always be disheartened by a few consensus among students like how they didn’t really care about the directors (they only cared about the actors/actresses) and how they avoided black and white movies. Thankfully there were some bright moments too. Sometimes when we talked about movies, the students would suggest me titles that I would have never watched without their help.


The first one is The Artist (2011). I told the students I occasionally watch black and white movies and a student who works at a bank said that I might enjoy this movie. The only thing I knew is that it had won the Oscar for best movie, but I had no idea what it was about. While watching I was surprised that it was sort of a remake of A Star is Born (1937) which already had remakes in 1954 and 1976. I have watched the 54 version with Judy Garland which I didn’t like all that much. I like the beginning of the movie, but Garland’s growth into stardom and Mason’s decline are slow, boring, and not very impactful. The Artist’s take on the same basic plot is riveting and the two main characters are incredibly charismatic. Her rise and his slump feel authentic. It is exciting, heartbreaking, and rewarding.


The second one is La faute à Fidel! (2006). This one was recommended by a really cool engineer who speaks French fluently. This was her favorite movie back then. Never heard of this movie and I was quite surprised by the plot. The little angry girl just won my heart with her innocent perspective of all the political turmoil that greatly affects her family.


Third is Mao’s Last Dancer. I had a student who only had time to come on weekends. She is really into ballet, so I asked her if she could recommend me a movie about the subject and this was the one she mentioned. Incredible story based on an autobiography of a Chinese ballet dancer.


And the last one is Whiplash. Recommended to me by two students I am still in contact with: Ana and Amanda. I was blown away by the performances and the ideas brought up by the movie. What does it take to be one of the best? Is it really worth it? Despite his destructive and punishing methods, was Fletcher correct in many of his points of view? These are some of the questions that the film makes you think and there aren’t clear answers.


Written by rti9

January 3, 2018 at 11:13 am

Posted in movies

Anime Directors: Chart 2.0

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movieawardslongversion_2015Last updated on March 2015 (Tokyo Anime Awards).
Updated according to the changes explained here.

These charts aren’t meant to indicate who is the best director or which is the best studio. They simply inform the awards given to anime productions and directors through the years. The colors can be interpreted as the level of difficulty it is for an animation production to acquire them. Contemplate these charts as just another way to search for something to watch.

The truth is that the majority of people who watch anime hardly pay attention to director names and awards. The data posted on these charts probably ends up being seen by most as some kind of offbeat information.

Written by rti9

March 3, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Posted in anime, awards

Anime Awards: Charts 2.0

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Last updated March 2015 (Tokyo Anime Award).


Thanks to some discussion about the previous charts I made some big changes:

– On the previous version, I based the hierarchy by giving points to each award and then adding them up. On this version, the quantity of higher tier awards dictates the positioning. If there is a tie, I compared the number of their next tier awards. This way, newer studios/directors don’t benefit as much as before from the greater amount of awards that exist nowadays.

– Awards in the same tier are now arranged from oldest one received to newest.

Mainichi Animation Grand Award and the Japan Academy Prize – Animation of the Year were downgraded because there needed to exist a contrast between competing against animations only and competing against movies in general.

Animation Kobe Awards were downgraded to group all domestic anime festival awards in just one tier.

– All excellence awards have been removed. Just being nominated is not enough.

– The color boxes are now wider so that titles aren’t broken into two lines. It made it look like a director/studio has more awards than he/it really had.

– Other minor fixes.

Now the lowest tier is mainly for domestic animation festival awards. The second lowest tier is mainly for animation awards in national film festivals. The middle tier is for domestic best film awards (not animation only) and some international awards. The second highest tier is for the two top domestic animation awards and the four top ASIFA (Association Internationale du Film d’Animation) awards. The uppermost tier is for the international awards in important film festivals when competing against movies in general, not just animation.

Written by rti9

March 2, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Posted in anime, awards


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Another Idolm@ster illustration featuring Haruka Amami. On the vespa, her producer.

It is quite amazing the quantity of fanart on the web of almost any subject. The oldest contact I had (besides my own sketches) back when I was a kid were probably the drawings people would send to videogame magazines like Electronic Gaming Monthly. Usually not very sophisticated, it was rare to see something published on the pages that could actually impress me. Nowadays you can find trillions of images on the internet. The ratio of good to bad illustrations on the web seems to have remained the same as back then on EGM, but now it is easier to find something that can actually astonish me.

Written by rti9

December 16, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Posted in anime, drawings

You May Dream!

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Idolm@ster illustration based on a scene from the Kare Kano opening. The mischievous twins Ami and Mami Futami on the front and the cheerful Haruka Amami on the back.

I’m surprised I still remember the basic commands of Adobe Illustrator. It’s odd that whenever I draw, I keep thinking of what my friend Daniel would complain about. He always grumbled that halfway through my works, I would always get lazy and want to conclude things haphazardly.

Written by rti9

December 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Posted in anime, drawings

Fall 2011 Logos

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Written by rti9

October 28, 2011 at 8:53 am

Posted in logos


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I recently finished watching a show I really enjoyed as a kid: the 1987 Zillion. Odd to remember the impact it made back then because of the Light Phaser peripheral for the Sega Master System. Before watching it again, I only had vague memories of the series. Therefore comparing the experience of watching it as an adult to the hazy recollections from the past is impossible for me. I only recall liking it so much as a kid that I ended up writing a short story about it.

Something probably many don’t remember is that the Sega Master System appeared in the show. Below are some screenshots of J.J. playing it on the 30th (next-to-last) episode.



Written by rti9

October 15, 2011 at 11:26 am

Posted in anime, game