By Mark Frauenfelder at 8:18 am Wed, Feb 24, 2010
A couple of months ago I posted a photo Kirsten Dunst in a princess cosplay outfit in Tokyo. Here's the video Murakami directed produced. She's singing a cover to the Vapors' "Turning Japanese." Some of the images are NSFW. (Via Arrested Motion)
Love the song, love Kirsten Dunst, love Japan… but this video is strangely lacking.
Yet another example of McG’s poor directing skills.
Wow so jealous! I love cosplay and have never been to Tokyo… anyone want a model? :)
I ain’t no CGI graphics guru, but watching the video carefully (as behooves one who watches madame Dunst), I get the feeling she ain’t really there. I’m guessing a green screen somewhere in the UK/US, followed by production in Japan.
Whatever, I’m going to strongly suggest to my wife that light blue flourescent hair will look really good on her.
Like this, Spike Lee’s Bamboozled was also quite difficult to watch.
thekinginyellow- “an american’s idea of what japan is”
I think it’s Murakami’s idea of an American’s idea of what japan is.
The CnnGO coverage of this is pretty good and explains the point – this is part of an art exhibit Murakami did in London (that just closed). It’s a “statement”. CnnGO summed it up:
“The video only starts to make sense when viewed through Murakami’s usual modus operandi: Selling the West the Japan it wants rather than the Japan that exists. In other words, “Akihabara Majokko Princess” is not as much art as a pop culture fairy tale for Anglo-American eyes.”
re: selling the west the japan it wants
So we’re just going to ignore the feedback loop between East and West cultures in order to score a few points?
Or perhaps you’re lamenting Western society co-opting uniquely Japanese cultural phenomena like school uniforms, animation, and pop music?
Your point of view is OLD and we’re laughing at you, old person.
Wow – the metaphorical elephant in the room here is that ‘turning Japanese’ is idiomatic for jerking off, choking the chicken, pounding the pope, waxing the dolphin etc. I’m glad the Japanese don’t know that.
Methinks Kirsten Dunst is a mega-babe, but she kinda looks like billy corgan in this video.
or maybe that’s the one hour of sleep talking.
KILL IT WITH FIRE
I kind of love this. Can’t decide if she looks like she’s having a blast or if she’s utterly stoned. Either way, makes me miss Tokyo. Cameos from Nigo, Murakami, etc.
no no no. just no. i need an aspirin now.
Needs more cowbell!!!
This video was up at Pop Life in Tate Modern last year.. the gallery assistants looked suicidal
The description is great, the execution is incredibly strained, awkward and shallow.
I mean I got the joke in the first 2/3 of a second. The other 4 minutes were painfully reminiscent of my college filmmaking classes when students filled their time with fast cuts of random footage of their friends acting like idiots and dared you to say it wasn’t deep and meaningful.
For what I imagine this cost to produce, it’s completely lackluster and dull.
That’s saying a lot, considering how colorful and vibrant Tokyo is.
That said, the bland audio track matches the boring visuals quite well.
Oh I miss Shibuya.
I totally don’t get why people continue to propagate the myth that the song “Turning Japanese” is about masturbation. I can see how this rumor flourished in the days before the Interweb but now clarification is only a Google search away…
And where are all these hip, fashionable nerds in Akiba? I’ve only encountered the disheveled ones for whom personal hygiene is an abstract concept which they are in no great danger of mastering anytime soon…
yup, utterly boring and a complete waste of time…
In the next cover, they should get Becki Newton to stand in for Kirsten Dunst – she’d be so much better at playing her.
Um. Doesn’t anyone get that this song is about masturbating?
Didn’t expect the Dream C Club cameos, as well as that very short Suzumiya Haruhi cameo at 3:18, and the ita-car and motorcycle looked kinda nice…
As for the boob size thing, that’s only a portion of it, which they just decided to focus on rather than the other extreme that was recenlty pretty much banned in aussie land.
Expecting something relating to this to pop-up on Sankaku now…
Another underwhelming effort by McG. But don’t worry, particle effects will make everything better!
This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Kaikai Kiki…arse.
Anyone have a mirror?
Well, I’ll be damned if that wasn’t just the hottest thing I’ve seen all day. And it’s actually a legitimately good cover of the Vapors’ original, too!
Cute video, but just try photographing her in that outfit in a shopping mall in the UK.
What’s with all the cartoon girls who look like they have Tijuana boob jobs? Cartoonists can draw whatever kind of bodies they want, so why don’t they go for more biomorphic shapes?
Yes, everyone, it’s regrettable that Mark posted a cute video. I realize the hypocrisy of my saying this, but if it’s that annoying in a non-significant way, why not just walk away from it and save your breath? LIGHTEN UP, FRANCIS.
Um…I’ll be in my bunk.
This has reminded me of three things: I miss Japan, Kirsten Dunst always looks stoned, and McG can’t direct.
Kirsten Dunst and NSFW? I don’t even think I can make it to my bunk……
She does more decent acting in this than she does in all three Spider-Man movies combined. Granted, that’s not setting the bar that high.
Not kawaii at all.
wow, that was god awful. i agree with Lupelu. it’s like anti-japanese…or an american’s idea of what japan is. huff…meh…shudders.
I guess she needs the money?
This entire video is a joke…and I mean that in a good way.
But let me say a few things.
1. “Turning Japanese” may or may not have been a joke on masturbation. According to a VH1 t.v. show the band has denied this. However, bands deny a lot of things, and when you listen to the rest of the song it is easy to see why someone might believe it does mean this. Blondie also said “I touch myself” Isn’t about masturbation/sex either….so there ya go.
2. Takashi Murakamiis KNOWN for blurring the line between high and low art, low art being ‘pop culture’ art. He is a master of the ‘superflat’ style (Which he is credited for inventing) this style rose out of poku…a mix of pop art and otaku (otaku is a subculture of japan who in my experience have a lot in common with american dorks/dweebs…go ahead and flame me for that opinion if you want) It focuses on lots of color, older and modern anime pictures, and sexual fetishism.
3. If you didn’t get the joke…wow. Were you even paying attention? You keep talking about how overdone and dumb this was….and you don’t see the irony? It was MEANT to be overdone. It was meant to make you see how overdone otaku is…it was meant to be satire. America has done the same for the gamers, furries, and dorks of America.
you say “Here’s the video Murakami directed.” but in the title card of the video, it says McG directed it and Murakami produced it. I’m going with the video!
This is basically proof that Akiba is the happiest place on earth. And Murakami’s cameo is adorable. I also thought I saw Danny Choo. (Confirm?)
Huh, a lot of negativity for a cute little one off video. It brightened my day. And Boba Fett Diop has the right idea.
Side note: my Captcha words include “stiff” and “his.”
I’ll click pretty much any link that says “Kirsten Dunst” and “NSFW,” no matter the URL.
(Note to other readers: The video does feature both Kirsten Dunst and somewhat NSFW images. But not at the same time.)
hearing Kirsten Dunst sing a song about masturbation, dressed like that, just made my Wed morning that much brighter!
The whole thing just strikes me as “Late to the Party.”
Last time I checked Kirsten-looking girls used to laugh at, scoff, and mock otaku culture… Nothing about this is enterprise is clever, it’s just a johnny-come-lately attempt to cash in on the fading “whackiness” of Japan. There’s nothing present in the video that demonstrates any true love or appreciation for what really makes Akihabara or Otaku culture special to it’s true participants.
Benhar: So you invented otaku / gothic lolita culture and blonde girls like kirsten dunst stole the credit from you. I can understand why you are so upset.
My only problem with this video is that the cover retains that cringe-worthy riff from the original–a plinkety-plink caricature of East Asian classical music that makes my cheeks burn.
Other than that, I have no comment on cultural appropriation, the Western meme of “Wacky Japan”, or Murakami’s interpretation thereof. Wait, I actually do have one. Whatever this is, it is so much better, by billions of degrees, than Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Girls (aka the yellow minstrel show).
Japanese youth culture/subculture and fashion tribes are all shown in situ, candidly, and not in any particularly Anglocentric, breathless, or lurid manner, or in a way that subjugates any shoppers or cosplayers for the elevation of the white girl. (Both Kirsten and the Lolitas in the background are dressing that way to be cute and child-like, while Gwen Stefani’s act took her background dancers as tamed, exoticized dolls, whose choreography included fawning over her and acting demure to her diva.
American Otaku (I hope no one minds me using the term in the way that AO themselves have apropriated it) will appreciate the numerous inclusions of Japanese cultural icons consumed by their Japanese peers. Haruhi and DBZ make brief appearances, and if I’m not mistaken, the background dancers in blue jump suits are none other than the Nico Nico Douga sensation, (The?) Zombies.
I’ll leave the obvious snarky comment about this lackluster Murakami production â€”
it left me super flat.
Next she should do “Walk Like an Egyptian” in Cairo … .
This video also makes me miss Japan, but it also totally made my day. ^_^
Oh I’m sorry. The correct answer was: so much win. Yes, that’s so much win for the grand prize. Thanks for playing though!
Nobody has made a comment acknowledging who Murakami is and its making me wonder if I am the only that knows.
Just as a reference point Murakami is Takashi Murakami, a contemporary visual artist that has recently had his this anime inspired NSFW sculpture sold at Sotheby’s for $15.2 million dollars. It’s a jaw dropping product of postmodernism’s use of low-brow culture.
Why do people bother to do covers that add nothing to the song? The instrumentation is the same, the arrangement is the same, the solo is the same, the vocal styling is the same. There’s even a male singer singing every line under her.
What does this version add to the song? Nothing.
Well, the video is pretty awesome. But other than that?
If you’re going to cover a song, then interpret it. Devo’s “Satisfaction”. Streetheart’s “Under My Thumb”. It doesn’t have to be radically different, but jeez, inject some personality.
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