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Tuesday, February 22, 2005


by Maria Eleanor Elape Valeros
August 30, 2004; posted at www.thefreeman.com

HANDLING some thingies of the young crowd is tough. You can just imagine the archives I had to dig into to be able to understand what Hunter X Series is all about. Sign of old age, awright! But the one positive effect chatting online has given me is this opportunity to interact with plenty of young people—who, errrmmm, keep me from fussing over quarter-life concerns (hee hee).

These are the young people of today, gaga over animation and or animatronics. But wait, say, animé please. That’s the jargon!This bunch of youngsters has replenished some childhood spirit in me that from time to time go down the drain because of this workload, this lifestyle, that pulls me out of the couch, away from some idiot box I once admired.

One of these animé fanatics is Killuazolbick. He’s twenty years old, just somewhere in Mandaue, hanging out at this Internet café run by a relative. He prefers to be called Xham, though—from his family name Samson—when conversing online. He chose Killuazolbick for a screen name as it is one animé character he so adores. Killua defends animés aren’t avenues of violence. Rather, they are vehicles for young people to understand that, really, crime doesn’t pay.

“Ngano man ma-violent ang mga child viewers ana nga kanang mga characters dinha pareha ra man na sa ubang teevee shows. Naay bida, naa pud kontrabida. Ang bida modefend, ang kontrabida mopatay. Then magbasol man pud na ang nakapatay. Maningkamot sad na sila mag-usab from bad to good. Hapit tanan in-ana man ang dagan sa mga stories ma-animé or dili. Ngano man gyud initan ang animé?,” Killua went.

I was supposed to tackle on the issue of violence relative to the influence of animated teevee series on the youngsters. But then the moment Killua confirmed that Pinoy animators were responsible for the original production of Dragonball Z, and that this was only sold to a Japanese market for lack of government support, boy, was I furious? Another product of Filipino ingenuity made basket case. Tsk! tsk!Huhum! What else could be new? Is there a future for Pinoy animators here, by the way? Now I wonder why the government couldn’t catapult the Pinoy visual arts industry into heights when, in fact, it so loves “pakatok” and “kakengkoyan”. I mean, plenty of legislators took the images of cartoon characters, mind you! So, I think, with them into the construction of laws, there certainly would be a bright future for the animation industry here.

If indeed they are bent on a paradigm shift to realize a 9-point agenda, then this administration should have sustained the Philippine Animation Festival, last February. It could have supported free animation film viewing, workshops, and seminars on animation, and of the activities aimed at upholding the skills of local animators and encouraging them to do more original productions.

It’s also good that Killua brought to my attention the local animation industry because the curiosity helped me realize that this particular industry “has long been providing the warm bodies for existing foreign animation studios like Disney”.

This I learned from Han Bacher, retired Walt Disney animator, and former production designer of full-length animation features like Mulan and Roger Rabbit who is bound to set up a company in the Philippines.
By the way, here’s an archived piece: a Filipino visual artist won the Visual Effects Society Award or Vesy, the Oscar in the field of special effects animation this year. Anthony Ocampo became the first Filipino to win the Vesy in the category Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Televised Program, Music Video or Commercial. Isn’t that a feat? Now for endeavors in animation, would the government please give some form of subsidy to those starting young, say Killuazolbick? Animation and/or animatronics artists should be allowed to knock on government’s door for subsidies that would enable them to put up production houses. If other countries could give our people the opportunity to bloom, then there’s no reason why the incumbent administration can’t take a chance on them.

It would be nice to see this country nurturing 3D lead artists, in the league of Ocampo. The guy now does animation work for top US TV programs such as “CSI”, and animation and special effects for “ER”.
If government subsidies are in the offing, there will be more Killuazolbicks in the making. I would love to see my friend Xham come up with his stories. He said he doesn’t draw, but he has a knack for developing storylines. Oh, we are on same league.

It would be nice to watch Xham—my Killuazolbick—credited after a full-length animated film of his creation.(crank up my addy: wild_pechay@yahoo.com, and I’ll buy you coffee)©