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Monday, June 29, 2015

Astro Boy and the God of Comics: Otakus Get Plays Too

"... Astro Boy still lives, " that's what Director Jaime Robledo told me at the end of our conversation.  This was after a discussion with anime voice actors at the Sacred Fools Theater. Which was after the play "Astro Boy and the God of Comics". And if you don't know Astro Boy, then you don't know nothin' about anime and manga as he is called the God of comics for a reason.

Before the show got started, I met some fans of the site, thanks for coming out! I overheard someone talking about the Persona series and we all came together, the audience, when the theme song to Totoro was played during the pre-show. You could hear "To-To-To-To-Toro...,".

"What did I walk into?, " that's what I thought to myself as the night went on where radiation leaked around me and a tiny robot boy was assembled in front of me, then flew past my head, into blinding oblivion. "It probably took three days to put the building Astro Boy together, because they all had different timing to work off of, because they all had different movements, but they had to group of people are moving on twelfths, another group of people are on six beats...," that's the director Jaime again on how he got his crew to assemble Astro Boy like workers out of Metropolis.

This ensemble not only had to assemble, but had to have some artistic skills on paper as anyone of them had to be called in to draw in front of the audience. "We knew that even the smallest part in the show was going to have to have some drawing talent, " that's Lead Producer, Brian Wallis, he told me of he's fiendish auditions where talent had to draw pieces in 90 seconds in front of him. He tried to grab their attention-part of the audtion- to see if they could stand drawing on stage and doing it with a lot going on.

The cast they chose did and astronomically good job and I salute Heather Schmidt as Astro Boy and West Liang as Osamu Tezuka with Zach Brown, Megumi Kabe, Anthony Li, Mandi Moss Jaime Puckett & Marz Richards. They played multiple roles and looked damn fine in jump suits. With an amazing background and visual effects around them; with much praise from Brian and Jaime to Jim Pierce for his Projection Animation Design, that took us into panels of comics, into cartoons, and sci-fi film. One fight between Astro Boy and another robot almost had me wanting to shout out, "Finish Him!"

Not bad from a small script, about fifteen pages from the original creator Natsu Onoda Power's work, as the play clocks in around sixty-five minutes. What you see is Jaime Robledo's take and hard planning. Planning that's already taken two-thousand feet of paper. "We're just on... we're on our third roll now of paper, I think we've got three left to get us through the next two months of performances," Brian told me.

"If you're any kind of anime or animation fan this is for're not going to see this anywhere in LA or the country, " Jaime ended on his work.

The play captures key scenes and famous moments from the original Astro Boy anime and brings them to life, honestly, those trying to adapt video games and anime to the big screen should take the play to heart for it's design and look. Dark moments arise like any other kids show from Japan, based on what really happen on a show made for kids. I almost wanted to cry for concern for Astro Boy and he's tough life.

Connected, is Osamua Tezuka, the creator of Astro Boy himself, a bigger than life character that is considered the grandfather of all anime and manga. He's always there, hidden in the beginning with Astro Boy. A man of no mere feats and an amazing life we follow his life, going full circle and connecting back to Astro's.

Astro Boy takes us into another adventure that looks and mimics the manga/anime it comes from. With a set design no other play in LA pulls off and imaginative way to keep the audience invested to see what happens next. See you previous episode!

Just, take it easy on Astro Boy's butt, that's an inside joke. Not a dirty joke.

Anime Night

On the night I attended, it was Anime Night, in a series going on Sundays. From anime and video games were vocie actors Robbie Daymond, Yuri Lowenthal, Tara Platt and Ezra Weisz led by Carrie Keranen. Yuri complained about how long Naruto has been going on, even though he's a part of it with Tara as they talked about filler episodes. Most of the conversation took the audience to newcomers of anime, which I highly doubt. Yuri also brought up how he owned and Astro Boy wig, bought in Japan and before seeing the anime kept putting in on wrong, even when corrected by his  Japanese girlfriend.

Robbie Daymond and Tara Platt had a drawing contest at one point of Astro Boy inspired by how the cast, which had snuck out into the audience, had to audition on the condition of their drawings. Rob's the one without a face, guess who won.

Astro Boy and the God of Comics

JUNE 20 - JULY 25, 2015
Fridays & Saturdays @ 8pm
Sundays @ 7pm
plus Thursday, July 2 @ 8pm

Tickets: $25 (Previews: $15)

(310) 281-8337 or Buy Tickets Online