Although Oshii’s reputation as a visionary director continued to grow through the early 1990s, he was still unmistakably a part of the commercial anime industry. Specifically, he worked closely with the company Bandai, whose various subsidiaries produce video games, toys, and animation. Oshii had been working on another anime project for Bandai between the two Patlabor films, but the company suddenly canceled it. Said Oshii, “I was so upset that I asked Bandai if I could direct something else, and they said ‘Do whatever you want.’”1 With Bandai’s blessing, Oshii directed Talking Head (1992), his personal meditation on the art and industry of film and animation. Although the film sometimes is billed as a mix of live action and anime, the animation does not occupy very much screen time (and only a very small bit of animation at the beginning is in what has come to be accepted as the anime style). Like Oshii’s other live action films before Avalon (The Red Spectacles and Stray Dog: Kerberos Panzer Cops, which are discussed briefly in chapter 7), the style of Talking Head is very different from that of his animated films. Talking Head takes on an obvious staged form, drawing from both Japanese and Western styles, with most of the action taking place as if in a play. In true Oshii fashion, the end reveals that most of the film’s events had been dreamed by the main character.
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