So, when I first saw the legendary Maria Holic opening video, besides being blown away I was reminded of something – the video Can’t Stop by Red Hot Chili Peppers. I dug it up and, sure enough, there are some obvious similarities. And it doesn’t end there.
Much like the Maria Holic op, the video takes place in a white warehouse and stresses the contrast of bright colors on the white backdrop. One very obvious motif is the buckets, which are aplenty in the Maria Holic video and seen repeatedly in Can’t Stop. The general placement of tons of strange objects is also alike in both videos. That’s about the extent of the similarities, but it’s more than enough to see some kind of possible influence, especially since Red Hot Chili Peppers are known to be quite big in Japan (see: Ichigo Mashimaro).
However, I was even more interested when I saw the message at the very end of the RHCP video that it was inspired by the “One Minute Sculptures” of Erwin Wurm. I searched quickly and found an interesting interview with the man on youtube as well as his wikipedia article.
Erwin Wurm’s style is to take pictures of people in everyday situations doing something stupid or bizarre. For instance, there may be someone sticking a pencil in their nose or wearing coat hangers over his ears, or something more odd like a ‘toothbrush launcher’ made with a bed, a chair, and a 2 by 4. Instantly, I get the feeling that this man could be one of SHAFT director Akiyuki Shinbo’s influences, as Shinbo is known for having random, bizarre things going on in normal situations during his shows for no apparent reason.
Erwin Wurm says in his interview that he likes to see people at their least socially acceptable, and likes to see people looking at their place in the world, figuring out where their niche is. Both of these are not only things that Shinbo would likely incorporate, but are major themes in Maria Holic itself. Wurm also states that he doesn’t like to take things seriously and that he likes a bit of cynicism and comedy. Once again, the similarities are obvious.
This, I think, provides an interesting look into what Shinbo’s crazy ass might be thinking with this amazing masterpiece of an opening video.