Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Top 5 Biggest Influences

I don't really do much myself. I don't draw much, nor do I right much, but I do think a lot. I know that doesn't really count for much, especially in an artistic perspective, but through my thinking my outlook on the things I enjoy and what I have to expect from these enjoyments has been influenced by many people, places, and art. In this blog post, I'm going to list my top 5 biggest influences on my outlook, which in turn effects the way I view the forms of art I focus on and how I judge new forms of art.

NOTE: By "art" I mean things like movies, pieces of art, pieces of music, theatre, videogames, etc. Also, don't expect anything to sophisticated from my list; after all, I'm not a very learned person.

5) Cowboy Bebop - whenever I say something is cool, stylish, or original, I am comparing it to the benchmark that is Cowboy Bebop. The visuals, the characters, the stories, the music, and the animation of this anime was truly ahead of its time, and, imo, still is to this day. There has yet to be any anime (or other art medium for that matter) that can match Cowboy Bebop in it's execution of style across all the senses. Cowboy Bebop is also a great example of style, as it is also very sophisticated in its execution, and never resorts to vulgarities to other "hip" modern mannerisms to be cool; rather it became its own being, and stood on its own two feet. The result was a style that was not only cool but garnered respect from the viewer, and that it the best type of style.

4) One Piece - to this day, One Piece remains the only manga to make me cry, and I don't mean get misty-eyed, I mean cry. One Piece is a story of emotion, and it is expressed so masterfully by mangaka Eiichiro Oda's unique art style, which conveys every emotional scene whether it be comedic or tragic with such power that it is neevr unclear as to what the characters are feeling, and as a result, the reader knows exactly what to feel as well. It is this strength in the conveying and execution of emotion that makes One Piece such a powerful story, and it remains the benchmark of the art of expressing emotions through just hand-drawn art and words.

3) Yasunori Mitsuda - specifically, his musical work in videogames and in freelance pieces, such as Kirite and Sailing of the World. Mitsuda's music in Chrono Trigger was the first time I can say a musical piece really touched me and made me "feel" without any need for visual or story accompaniment. Then I played Chrono Cross, which has, imo, the best soundtrack in any videogame to date. The strength of his works lie not simply in the beauty his pieces have, but the way they stand alone as beautiful pieces of art. Mitsuda's music alone paints a picture in the listener's head, and the power of that experience is very impactful. There are many great composers in the world, but I feel that none have produced music that has touched me quite like the compositions of Yasunori Mitsuda, and thus Mitsuda's music has created the benchmark for just how powerful music without reliance on any other factors.

2) The Legend of Zelda (A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, and The Wind Waker) - A Link to the Past was the first videogame I ever played that truly immersed me into it's world and character, and I will never forget my time playing it. It's truly the first time I felt the factor of immersion with an art medium (not just a videogame), and this feeling was only amplified further with Ocarina of Time, which is the first game that had me in awe as I played it, and the first time I really felt immersed in a fictional world. These four games showed me what immersion truly is and that such a feeling is not limited to just books and movies as many adults want kids to believe.

1) The Films of Hayao Miyazaki - aside from the simple life experiences we all go through in our lives, nothing has influenced my artistic and philosophical outlook on life as much as the films of Miyazaki have. Even to this day, these films continue to influence me and make me rethink my outlook on life not just as a fan of art, but as a person. These films fill me not only with wonder and excitement, but fear and understanding. From the charming fairy tale of Ponyo, to the dark and scary world of Princess Mononoke, and the adult world of Porco Rosso; Miyazaki's films have forged so many ideals of life within my psyche that it's no contest that they are the number one influence of my outlooks, on both art mediums and life. The sights, the sounds, the creativity, the stories, and the experiences we have along the way; I wouldn't trade them for anything.

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