|Ga-Ra-Ku-Ta: Mr. Stain on Junk Alley|
The cover of Ga-Ra-Ku-Ta: Mr. Stain on Junk Alley DVDs released in USA.
(Garakuta-dori no Sutein)
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Ryuji Masuda|
|Written by||Ryuji Masuda|
|Studio||FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.|
|Original network||Kids Station|
|Original run||January 6, 2003 – March 25, 2003|
Mr. Stain, also known as Ga-Ra-Ku-Ta: Mr. Stain on Junk Alley (ガラクタ通りのステイン Garakuta-dori no Sutein?), is a digital computer (CGI) anime series created and directed by Ryuji Masuda. The producer of the show is Shunsuke Koga and the characters are designed by Wakako Masuda. The series involves surreal adventures centered on characters living in a junk-filled alley.The episodes are short, with a duration of about seven minutes, and start with Mr. Stain finding an object. The name of the episodes are the same as the items that Stain (or Palvan) finds. There is no dialogue, just music and sound effects. Each episode's ending credits show the characters who appeared along with their names in English, followed by a segment of everyone dancing and having fun.
The CGI was produced by FUNimation Entertainment and premiered between 10:50 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. (JST) on December 31, 2002. It was broadcast in Japan by Kids Station, beginning January 6, 2003, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 12 p.m. (JST). It was also aired in Brazil by Cartoon Network (L.A.). FUNimation also included episodes of Mr. Stain on many of its other DVD releases. These short comedy bits were well received by DVD viewers and interest in the series grew. A DVD release of the show was also launched by FUNimation for the USA and Canada region.
Mr. Stain lives in a junk-filled alley and comes across objects in his searches. These objects seem ordinary at first but soon prove to be otherwise, resulting in awkward situations. He befriends a large feline, named Palvan, who almost always does not agree with Stain on the best use of a found item. Their arguments become extremely violent with one of them getting hurt, but things turn out well at the end. Both characters are very selfish but their tender side can also be seen. Mr. Stain is the only character who appears in all the episodes; Palvan is not in episodes four and ten. The rest of the characters appear occasionally in important roles, but can be seen in other episodes.
The characters in the series are an odd bunch with names that suggest their fate (or role) or their physique: Eaten is a fish that is consumed, Rings is a lizard that uses rings as an accessory around its neck, Pylon is a crab that uses a pylon as headgear, and Policeman is an officer of the law who comes to the alley on his rounds. Different minor characters, such as Squeezed dog and Masked monkey, appear in the series as inhabitants of "Junk Alley" besides Mr. Stain and Palvan. Others like Lost kitten and Stephanie, a young girl, accidentally enter the alley and are helped to find a way out. There is an abandoned baby and a pianist called Lifa, with whom Stain falls in love but must fight his alter-ego, Handsome Stain from the mirror world, for her affection.
Mr. Stain is a street-dwelling vagabond who uncovers the mysterious and bizarre world of Junk Alley. Objects in the alley have magically come to life. Stain makes friends and along with them has adventures within the alley. The episodes usually start with him finding an odd object and an adventure ensues. The episodes are comic with some thought-provoking scenes.
One touching episode is Heavenly Bird, where Stain discovers a bird in a cage and wants to eat it. After a riotous chase through the alley while he tries to capture the animal, Stain realizes that the bird is sad and dying. It just wants to see its tropical homeland. Stain works through the night to build a cardboard model of the bird's homeland and when the Heavenly Bird sees it, he thinks he's home and dies. Another episode, titled Toy Robot, is about a remote controlled toy that decides that it no longer wants to be a servant, but wants to fly like the birds it sees. Stain, being helpful, comes up with different ways of making the robot fly, with comically tragic results. The last episode is an epilogue to the series and is for half an hour. The story revolves around Stain who sees a woman living in a high rise apartment and immediately falls in love with her. After a few comic attempts to get to her, all of which fail, he accidentally switches places with the attractive Handsome Stain from his mirror. This Stain has no problems getting to the woman and seducing her.
|Mr. Stain finds a uniquely colored egg and decides to care for it. Palvan, on the other hand, wants to eat the egg and Stain is forced to violently fight him off. During the night, the egg hatches into a seemingly harmless fish. But, when the fish shows its carnivorous nature, the situation turns for the worse.|
|Palvan finds a refrigerator and keeps the possession to himself, preventing Stain and Rings from approaching it. But he cannot open the door and eventually teams up with Stain and Rings, beginning a series of disturbing attempts to open it.|
|Stain finds a portrait of a beautiful woman and falls in love with it. Enthralled by the painting, he does not move, drink or eat anything. Palvan thinks that he has a perfect cure for Stain's condition, but the feline's good intentions have disastrous consequences.|
"Gokuraku tori" (極楽鳥)
|Stain stumbles upon an exotic bird with rainbow feathers and a gift to dance. He initially thinks of it as his next meal, but soon realises it is lonely and is about to die. As an act of kindness he replicates the bird's paradise island.|
"Kasetto teepu" (カセットテープ)
|Stain and Palvan obtain a mystical cassette tape and use it, along with other spare junk to construct a robot. The robot's only desire is to dance to the tune of the tape and it uses Palvan and Stain as non-stop dancing partners. Unable to bear the dancing robot, the two must fix the situation before the robot discovers its ability to display anger.|
|Stain discovers a box of crayons that appear normal, until they bring all that is drawn with them to life. Realizing the possibilities, Stain and Palvan start on a humorous adventure of drawing things into existence, but this quickly goes out of hand.|
|Mr. Stain finds a pair of binoculars and looks from a distance to see Palvan's softer side. It turns out that the cat is secretly raising and nurturing a tiny kitten. Stain continues to observe this interesting event, when a new factor is introduced that could change Stain and Palvan's future.|
"Rimokon robotto" (リモコンロボット)
|Mr. Stain finds a remote-controlled robot, that refuses to obey the remote. When Stain tries to figure out the robot's reason for rebelling he discovers that the robot is tired of being ordered around and wants to be free like a bird. Stain offers his help with catastrophic results.|
|Mr. Stain picks up a thread of wool that was once knitted into a magical mitten which came to life and helped a lost girl find her way out of Junk alley.|
|Stain plants a seed which rapidly grows into a beautiful flower. At night he fantasizes about it becoming a beautiful woman and dancing with her.|
|Stain comes across some clay and fashions it into a face of himself, which acts with a mind of its own and takes over Palvan to form a living replica of Mr. Stain.|
|Mr. Stain and Palvan find a fishing rod, decide to go fishing in the alley's fountain, and end up catching a big fish. After they eat the fish, Stain discovers the babies of the fish yearning for their mother. Stain takes pity on the fish and decides to raise them with outlandish results.|
|Mr. Stain finds an abandoned baby in Junk-Alley's garbage dump. In order to feed the baby he decides to steal milk and a baby bottle, which incites a police officer to come after him. Refusing to bend to the law, Stain faces dire consequences and sets off a series of twists that lead to a struggle between life and death.|
|14||"Epilogue (or Harmonica)"
|Stain, while playing his harmonica, sees a beautiful woman across the alley and immediately falls in love with her. However, a twisted set of events begin to unfold that forces Stain to compete for her attention with his alter ego, Handsome Stain.|
DVDs of Mr. Stain were originally released in Region 1 on March 26, 2006. They come in a standard amray DVD case that contains a two-disc set and have a paper insert listing other FUNimation releases. In addition to the fourteen episodes of Mr. Stain, the DVDs have nearly two hours of bonus material.
|Disc 1||Disc 2|
|1||"Tandem"||HALCALI||One to Thirteen|
|1||"Tandem"||HALCALI||One to Thirteen|
|2||"Giri giri surf-rider"||HALCALI||Fourteen|
The CGI received a positive response from reviewers. John Sinnott of DVD talk compares it to the old Charlie Chaplin comedies, commenting that it is "very funny and filled with well thought out slapstick gags and odd situations". He adds,"This is a very fun and touching show and one of the better anime sets to be released so far this year. Otaku fans of well crafted comedy alike should give this series a look." He is impressed by the non use of dialogue, saying that the bitter sweet moments in the show "gives it heart." His opinion is more mixed on the fourteenth episode which, he feels, "did drag a bit."
Jeremy Mullin from IGN calls the show "weird", but adds that the weirdness makes the show appealing especially the "Looney Tunes"-like way in which it is done. He writes,"You usually get a good laugh at the antics of Mr. Stain and his friends, but sometimes things get dramatic in a thought-provoking way that gets to you. Some moments are particularly disturbing.". He acknowledges Mr. Stain to be "perfect for a nice break from reality when you want some laughs with the occasional moral message" and suggests that even non-anime fans could enjoy it.
Michael Bartholow, Advanced Media Networks(anime), calls the anime "wacky, bizarre and humorous with touching moments that are thought provoking". He too compares it to the Looney Tunes shows, specifically praising its choice to be visually oriented rather than relying on conventional dialogues. The reviewers conclude that the show can be watched by any viewer. They also credit it with "infectious" and "foot-tapping" music at the end and highly recommend its viewing.
Awards and international recognition
- Received Excellent Animation Award in Cultural Affair Agencies'Media Art Festival.
- Specially invited to the “Pusan International Film Festival” in Korea.
- Officially invited to “Melbourne International Film Festival” in Australia (2004).
Notes and references
- The director confesses to a spiritual experience he had with his cat. "Mysterious Story: Blessings". FUNimation. Archived from the original on 2007-12-03. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- Episode details have been obtained from the Official Site of Mr. Stain under "Episodes". FUNimation. Retrieved 2007-12-30. Additionally episode durations verified from product description on "Mr. Stain on Junk Alley (DVD)". Amazon.ca. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- para 3, Jeremy Mullin. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". IGN.com. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- "Shows released in 2003". AnimeNewsNetwork. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- para 1, John Sinnott. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". DVDTalk. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- DVD release, product details, "Mr. Stain on Junk Alley (DVD)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- Plavan can be seen caring for a kitten in episode seven and Stain for a baby in episode thirteen, see the official website under "Episode section". FUNimation. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- Character summaries can be found in the official site under the "Characters section". FUNimation. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- para 1, Jeremy Mullin. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". IGN.com. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- para 4, John Sinnott. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". DVDtalk. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- para 4-6, John Sinnott. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". DVDtalk. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- The episode is called Epilogue on the "Official site". FUNimation. Retrieved 2007-12-30. In para 3, the episode is called "Harmonica" by the reviewer Jeremy Mullin. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". IGN.com. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- Product description, "Mr. Stain on Junk Alley (DVD)". Amazon.ca. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- para 3, John Sinnott. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". DVDtalk. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- para 1, John Sinnott. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". DVDtalk. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- para 6, John Sinnott. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". DVDtalk. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- para 4, Jeremy Mullin. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". IGN.com. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- para 2, Jeremy Mullin. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". IGN.com. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- Bottom line, Jeremy Mullin. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". IGN.com. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- para 2, Disc Review, Michael Bartholow. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". Advanced Media Networks(anime). Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- para 1, Disc Review, Michael Bartholow. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". Advanced Media Networks(anime). Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- para 3, Disc Review, Michael Bartholow. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". Advanced Media Networks(anime). Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- Bottom line,Michael Bartholow. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". Advanced Media Networks(anime). Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- Final thought, John Sinnott. "Review of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley". DVDtalk. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- "Overall Rating". Advanced Media Networks(anime). Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- "Overall Rating". IGN.com. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- "About Ryuji Masuda". Nekogamisama. Retrieved 2007-12-30.