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  1. #1

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    Duffy's new book at WDW

    Just wanted to let everyone know that Duffy is going to have his very own book at WDW. On Friday Oct. 14th, at Epcot, the book is coming out and the artist will be there signing autographs. Also, if you have an annual pass they are giving away free T-shirts to fit Duffy to celebrate his first year. Can't wait. I'll be there. Don't have any pictures yet, but I'll post later.

    ---------- Post added 10-07-2011 at 03:00 PM ----------

    http://adisneyworld.disney.go.com/me...DuffyStory.jpg

    Try this link. It shows a picture of the book's cover.

  2. #2

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    Re: Duffy's new book at WDW

    Too bad I won't be there until 2-3 weeks after

    Edit: pretty sure this is the book. There's several changes from the Japanese version.
    Last edited by Wondering; 10-07-2011 at 05:49 PM.

  3. #3

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    Re: Duffy's new book at WDW

    Figures a week after I was there (just got home about 45 minutes ago).

    ---------- Post added 10-07-2011 at 10:34 PM ----------

    OMG... if you watch the video at the link Wondering posted, take a look at the seagull on the first page of the book. Look familiar to anyone? He looks a LOT like Tippy Blue!

  4. #4

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    Re: Duffy's new book at WDW

    Oh wow, I'm surprised! This is actually pretty good! It's a very cute story. Slightly different from the Japanese one, but the same theme. So cute and I love that Tippy Blue makes a cameo! Could this be a hint on future Duffy merch? I hope so! I hope this means, they're turning a new leaf with Duffy and will treat him better! Let's see!
    Poor unfortunate Souls.

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    Re: Duffy's new book at WDW

    I had a long conversation with some CM's at the Japan pavilion at Epcot today about Duffy and how the US parks need to treat him better and come out with better quality merchandise. We all pretty much agreed on everything too. They loved how I get what Duffy is about and his spirit and everything.

  6. #6

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    Re: Duffy's new book at WDW

    Thanks for the link to the book video, Wondering. Interesting to see.

    The young family video they had "bookending" the story shows exactly who they see Duffy's audience as (parents buying for their small children). That seems to explain the lower quality of some of the outfits and items. (Not trying to complain, though; the only Duffy I have is the magnet Duffy who I think is adorable and perfect.)

    That does not explain why they left out the most "magic" element of Duffy, though...as I was watching the video I was thinking how fun it would be (if I had kids) to buy them a Duffy, and then once they were sleeping, put Duffy in his sailor outfit and put him back into the kid's arms, and then show them the Duffy story that has the exact same magical event! But then that part of the story didn't make it to the US.

    Then again, in the US, saying the bear just magically gets his sailor outfit might seem kind of like a money grab in the US ("you just bought a $30 bear; hurry and give us another $20!).

  7. #7

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    Re: Duffy's new book at WDW

    Here is another link with more information at both WDW and DL for Annual Pass Holders.

    Duffy the Disney Bear Anniversary Book Release and Passholder Gift Event - Stitch Kingdom.com

  8. #8

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    Sad Re: Duffy's new book at WDW

    This bastardization of the Japanese story has officially severed all hope for me with the US version of Duffy, which will from today be known as "Duffelganger" in my mind, forever. That thing is not Duffy; it is "the Disney Bear" with Duffy's stolen name, and it is a kind of terrible evil. How the US would tell the long version of Duffy's story was the last thing that gave me hope for the future. Upon seeing it, it feels like they actually didn't even bother to have someone on their staff translate it. It's almost like they found my English translation online and had to edit it in order to avoid legal issues. Some of the ways I phrased things that are actually slightly more colorful than the Japanese or different from a typical translation seem to have made it into the mix. Yet somehow everything that actually mattered is gutted. Here's a rundown of what's missing:
    • Duffy's self-generated and mysterious life force
    • Duffy having his own adventures, totally removed from Mickey
    • Duffy actually having the ability to travel and communicate in dreams
    • THE MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE!!! (Thank the stars for this, actually, though. It's the "NOT-Duffy" proof!^^)
    • The FriendSHIP becomes "S.B. Willie"...not that I like either of these as much as Shellie May
    • Generic-looking, over-glossy CG artwork and a generic port town that is NOT CAPE COD!!!
    • Friends coming together to volunteer for the workshop, and the social value this represents - also making what you want yourself, or at least having a real stake in it as opposed to nameless, faceless, thankless consumption
    Other points take longer to talk about than a bulleted list. First of all, the introduction of Mickey's "new crew" that he had been training all day is very distracting. Who are these people? If Mickey's out with all these people, why is he so lonely...oh wait, in the US version, he's "homesick." So now Duffy is about homesickness, not loneliness and companionship. Weird. And is it just me, or doesn't the fact that there's a whole crew there lessen the impact of the whole Duffy and Mickey alone at sea on all their adventures thing? I just don't understand why they would do this...?

    Also, Mickey and Minnie are given far more prominence, as was the case with Mickey in the Disney Bear version. In this new version they are really working that "Magical Seamstress Minnie" angle. The scene at the pier when Mickey leaves is much longer, and Minnie gives Duffy to Mickey in a duffel bag, rather than Mickey putting him by chance into his Duffel bag, serendipitously leading to the little bear's moniker. Maybe I made a translation error here, but I think the latter is more charming.

    Originally, if Mickey was lonely being on adventures because he was lonely, not just because he "missed Minnie." That doesn't really matter anyway, though, because in the original, Duffy was made from the spirit of Minnie simply wanting him to have a reminder of being loved, not because he had expressed being "lonely" in any way. It was just something she wanted to give him. She did not "fill the bear with happy memories and love" so much as she "made him with her whole heart." Subtle perhaps, but quite different. The Japanese is about the entire construction process and intention, while the US evokes the image of "magical stuffing," popularized in the US by Build-A-Bear. I wonder now if what Disney is planning is to make a bunch of Duffy shops in malls all across America in direct competition with their existing partner?

    In Japan, "Minnie's Sea Side Workshop" is apparently Cannery Clothing Company. I can imagine this whole backstory that it's an old cranberry cannery that's been converted into a workshop. I still prefer my idea of "Minnie's Co-op Workshop," but there's no place whatsoever for that in the US version since, instead of all of her friends volunteering to help Minnie (my favorite part of the whole story^^), in the US version, Minnie seems to either do everything single-handedly or engineer the creation of the workshop (perhaps by manipulating her "friends'" desire to have a Duffy of their own?) because "Minnie is a very smart mouse." The delivery of the narrator on "very. smart. mouse," along with "she quickly transformed her workshop into Duffy-making central"* and the image of her friends all getting to work really did lead me instantly to, "That Minnie sure is one Machiavellian mouse!"

    *in a very old post, I referred to Aunt Peg's as "Duffy Central." Interesting...^^

    Going back for a moment to the scene at the pier, in the original, this scene is all about Duffy getting a name. In this one, it seems to be all about Mickey and Minnie. Duffy is a sidekick...maybe even just a prop. Re-watching that part I finally remember why this is so familiar:

    Quote Originally Posted by US Storybook
    "You can keep him in your duffel and take him with you wherever you go," she replied.
    There's nothing like that in the original Japanese version, but it sounded instantly familiar to me. It reminds me of this, from my Shellie May story:

    Quote Originally Posted by My original Shellie May story
    "She's not a magic bear like you, but you can take her with you and she can be your friend," said Minnie.
    I really do think this is just coincidence, but I really wanted to remember where that was from and it happened just now, so I'm typing it...^^

    Anyway...even on the ship, Mickey's missing Minnie and hugging Duffy. There is nothing like that in the original. It's not a story about Mickey and Minnie. Duffy is Duffy. "...Holding the bear close to his heart" is cute, though. That got me!^^

    What the heck is all this, though?:
    Quote Originally Posted by US Storybook
    "Mickey whenever you start to miss home, all you have to do is give me a hug and the love that Minnie put inside of me will chase away your sadness???"
    YUCK! First of all, talk about serious inconsistencies since they decided to make Duffy talk! This is what happens when someone devoid of true heart tries to express a sincere sentiment and turns a real feeling into sappy, vapid pandering. Minnie's original message in the bottle is so simple, and if you take away the salutation and signature, it could be from and to anyone: "This Bear is meant to bring you lots of happiness and luck." The US version would require the giver to put something inside of Duffy in order to be accurate with switched names, and it also requires Duffy to be a going away present for someone far from home in order to use his "power" to "chase away" sadness and homesickness...oh wait, it's not Duffy who does that anyway; it's "Minnie's love." One more time...

    "To this day, Mickey still swears that the teddy bear smiled back at him and winked." Doesn't this give the impression that Duffy is not, really, a living magical creature? And yet, on the next "page," we see Duffy clearly alive, looking across the horizon with Mickey. What gives? Is Duffy alive and magical or not? Who knows? Or more to the point, "Who cares?"

    That magical moment when Mickey wakes up to find Duffy dressed is gone, taking with it the significance of clothing to the character. This choice just boggles the mind...wouldn't this be better financially, too? Idongetit...

    And what's with the delivery on "...and tried all different sorts of food?" She sounds like this was not a good thing, like some of the food made them sick or something. I guess this is to tie him to EPCOT's wine and food festival thing, then? Not bad, but her reading is still really strange to me.

    And it's made clear that Duffy doesn't eat, even though in Japan he runs a sweets shop every year and can be seen eating in that artwork. Another moment that shifts the focus from Duffy back to Mickey, a major and important goal for the US Duffy. Mickey and Minnie are no longer really characters most of the time to the Walt Disney Company; they are brand emblems. Duffy in Japan connects to a part of the imagination that actually transcends Disney. The Duffy concept connects to the teddy bear concept, something so deeply personal and also iconic that Disney can never completely own it. So, they take Duffy and subjugate him to clearly being "Mickey's bear" and losing any self-generated magic that might lead you to connect more to your own child-spirit and imaginative creativity rather than just seeing him as a badge of the Disney brand. I the end, that seems to be the prime directive of the US Duffy team. Furthering this goal, where the Japanese storybook uses generic (or maybe they're just obscure and I don't know them) as a lot of the Cape Cod background character, US Disney's version has only recognizable characters. And this whole thing about "making them feel loved and keeping them company" just comes off as trite. The authentic Japanese Duffy is about that, too, but somehow "Duffy Brings Love" seems to do it in a way that seems vastly less pathetic. I think it's because "Duffy Brings Love" makes me think that Duffy fans also bring love, like it's not just lonely losers hugging their teddy bears in a dark, faraway place where they haven't managed to make any friends, but that the people who "get" Duffy understand something about what loving is and means, and they are likely to bring it and share it everywhere they go. It seems to have more power, while the US version feels cheesy at best, or at worst it actually comes off a little sad.

    And the end! WTHeck!!! "Pretty soon they began sending pictures of themselves holding Duffy..." This is just awful! It totally contradicts the just-opened Cape Cod Village Greeting Place which has letters to the "Friends of Duffy" society in Cape Cod, which is arguably Duffy's first attraction. It's just awful. I'll say it again. This is just AWFUL!

    Again, the point here seems to me a blatant attempt to keep all that energy focused on Mickey and Minnie who have become the Disney brand, not real characters we actually get to connect with or who have any life bigger than their role as mascots. "You can love Duffy, but he can't be real; he's just a way for you to get closer to Mickey and Minnie, the embodiment of the brand. Buy more crap! And in case you weren't clear - he's not your new friend, he's Mickey's new friend. But you can buy one. Go ahead, buy more crap!"

    End rant...for now.^^

  9. #9

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    Re: Duffy's new book at WDW

    I'm glad they finally are releasing a book. It's similar, but different from the Japanese story. I sure wish I could be there to get the book and t-shirt. I will have to see if anybody sells that shirt on Ebay, I guess.

    I'm not so crazy about the art style, but overall I'm glad they're starting to give a little bit of that magic to Duffy. Unfortunately, I think that Disney in the US will never market Duffy beyond families buying for their kids. I just don't think Americans in general look at a teddy bear as anything but for kids. There are collectors, sure, but at this point, I don't think Disney will ever cater to them with Duffy. So, we can just hope for higher quality items, and this storybook is a good start.

    ---------- Post added 10-08-2011 at 02:14 PM ----------

    LOL, man, I didn't see your post as I wrote mine. You pretty much said what I feel, but at this point I don't think the US team is going to do any better. This is still better than what they have (or have not) done for Duffy in the US, but still, I get what you're saying, and compared to his presence in Japan, this is not the same.

    One thing I did notice that helped the Japanese story so much was the setting. Having it set in Cape Cod where you could actually explore, helped ground the story in "reality"...within the theme park. It's total synergy. I'm very surprised Disney didn't use some icons from the US parks in this. Why not try to tie it into maybe the Boardwalk resort, or Paradise Pier, or even Disney's cruise line? They could have used images, or buildings from all of their properties to give it that sense of place. Right now, it's all generic. Even the original "Disney Bear" story took place in the Magic Kingdom.

    I just don't have any hope whatsoever that the US version of Duffy will ever match the Japanese one, and I'm resigned to that.

  10. #10

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    Re: Duffy's new book at WDW

    Yeah, I'm probably alone in my disappointment. No one thinks character integrity is such a big deal in the US anymore. What a shame if Walt Disney had thought the way we do now... Instead of opening the way to dreams, he could have just marketed to what he thought we'd buy easily. Instead of believing that people could fall in love with characters and artistry, he could've just churned stuff out on the cheap and relied on the brand...oh, but that's right. He had to build from something real first; he couldn't just rely on an inherited legacy. What a shame.

    And I came back to this thread to add something. Did anyone else notice how the first thing they did was make a point of the kid saying, "I wanna read the Duffy story," as if he's heard it before. Then just a moment later he asks if it's a new story, to which the mother replies, "Uh huh, it is. It's a brand-new story." I bet money this "brand-new" story will have American names listed as author and illustrator, while the Japanese artists still remain unknown and unsung. Shrug your shoulders at the way the Walt Disney Company does things all you want, but it's not right. For all its terrible changes, dumbed down points, and genericized visuals, there is no denying that this is absolutely NOT a "brand-new" story, but a whitewashed, Americanized hollowed-out shell of the Japanese story.

    I have confirmed absolutely that the Duffy costume design and merchandising team is all Japanese. They do the artwork as well as the costume design for Duffy in Japan. They created his name, his original backstory, and really the look and identity of the character we know today. None of their names are listed on any of their products, yet here's a whole article about Monty Maldovan from Disney Design Group and his contributions to Duffy that don't even have a release date yet. I'm sorry to be the naysayer, but this is wrong and it would be more wrong, I think, if no one said so. They've taken the heart out of other artists' work (while simultaneously taking all the glory) and they're robbing most Americans of ever even knowing what they've lost.

  11. #11

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    Re: Duffy's new book at WDW

    You're not alone in your disappointment, DuffyD. I share that, but I've also become jaded to what Disney in the US does. I'm not hopeful at all that they "get it". There are glimpses, but overall, I'm usually disappointed. That's not just for Duffy either, it's a lot of things they do.

    Also, and I'm not trying to be mean here, my feelings are that this Monty Maldovan guy is kind of a hack. That's harsh, yeah, but why does he get so much credit for this Duffy stuff, when it's a cheapened or straight-up lifted idea from the Japanese team? Why does he get the focus? To be honest, his work seems a lot more generic. He's working from the "Duffy bible" that the Japanese team came up with, but he's kind of bastardizing it in translation. I'm sure he's a nice guy, and this is not a personal attack on him, but more a critique of his work and a question about why he's allowed to get the attention for this. I would almost rather not know who did any of this than see his name pop up all over it.

    ---------- Post added 10-08-2011 at 04:14 PM ----------

    Ok, maybe I used "hack" a little to sensationalistically. I know he's worked for Disney for a long time, according to his Facebook page, since 1992. He's done work on pins, and Vinylmation. However, I just wish the credit for the Duffy concepts and design didn't go solely to him, or at least he seems to be the face of it.

    It might be one thing if they were creating wholly new Duffy concepts and designs. As it is, they are taking what was done in Japan and just changing it, or creating more generic artwork to go with it. For example, the design of the cover of this new storybook has the same look as the TDS version, including the "stitching" around the border. They just changed the color to yellow. The artwork is new, but it's also derivative. So, are they going to credit the originators of the book design? Maybe they will, who knows? I can hope, but then for some reason, Mr. Monty Maldovan will be on hand signing copies, which makes it seem like he created the book. I would like to know just how much he was involved with it. Did he create this new artwork?

    It's weird. I'm annoyed that the Duffy team in Japan who worked so hard over the last several years to re-shape this bear are unsung, while in America, the attention goes to one guy who is basing his work off of the original team's. On the other hand, I do like the fact that they are even bothering to continue to focus on Duffy, and maybe this book will help. It's not quite the same Duffy, but then, I don't know if it ever could be. I'm conflicted...

  12. #12

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    Re: Duffy's new book at WDW

    Well, I think the main reason for the change of artwork is that in Japan, Duffy is in an old-styled Cape Cod so things like bottled notes and the older style make sense. Here, I guess they just wanted to modernize it is the thing--thus updated artwork and no bottle.

  13. #13

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    Re: Duffy's new book at WDW

    I'm also conflicted like Gurgi, I like the story, of course it's no Japan Duffy, but to me it's still nice. To me, it's good to at least see SOME creativity when it comes to Duffy here in the states, but like you said DuffyD, bastardizing the story isn't being true to the spirit of Duffy. I just hope this will turn a new leaf and Disney will treat Duffy the way he deserves to be treated. And I'm also peeved about this Monty person. His designs are just GOD awful and he's getting all the attention and credit for Duffy. I don't even like pins or vinyls either(I actually HATE them) so it makes me more agitated. This is the guy responsible for the crap mercy we have here in the states!
    Poor unfortunate Souls.

  14. #14

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    Re: Duffy's new book at WDW

    Yeah, I've seen some of Monty's other designs and I have not been impressed. It's all derivative. It's funny, because the only US Duffy stuff that I actually like is the stuff that's directly from Japan without alteration.

    That doesn't mean I'm biased to only like the Japanese art, but so far, nothing that the US team has done has been better than the originals. If they really put effort into creating truly unique Duffy artwork, I would be impressed.

  15. #15

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    Re: Duffy's new book at WDW

    I've gotta agree with many of DuffyDaisuki's criticisms, even though I only read the translation of the Duffy story a couple times (and frankly don't have the patience to watch through the video again!).

    I'm sure I am more flexible with my definition of "character integrity"--for instance, I would have been fairly satisfied if Mickey would have had a dream and woke up with Duffy in the sailor suit only (since we don't have a message in a bottle accessory here anyway). And I don't mind Duffy's location; he travels a lot and I don't care what place he is in so much. Though I agree with Gurgi that it would've been great if he was exploring, say, Paradise Pier.

    But my main concern is that I don't feel like the story has ANYTHING "magical" in it associated with Duffy, which I think is a shame. Now he's just a random teddy bear that fixes loneliness…

    (As an aside--though it is not Japanese canon, I actually got it in my head that Duffy is more about love (warm/fuzzy/platonic love)--mostly because a lot of the merchandise in Japan ("Sweet Duffy"?) came out saying "Duffy brings love" and I saw pictures of that well before I read the translation of the story. And, well, when I first saw even the walkabout and the cute little plushie magnets in DCA almost a year ago, I DID fall in love!)

    As for Sea Captain Mickey being lonely…in fairness, sometimes the loneliest times ARE when you're surrounded by people who don't really care about you, and it's usually rather lonely to be a boss. But, I think those are rather weighty concepts for the small children the story is aimed toward! So lonely or not, I think they should've stuck with Mickey going off on a voyage and left it at that.

    In Japan, do any of the Duffy artists/designers get any sort of credit? I think a lack of credit to the Japanese crew could go along with the cultural differences that Japan seems to often be more about the team, while the US is more about individual accomplishments. (Remember, in America, "Minnie is a very smart mouse." )

    Not that I'm really impressed by any of the American outfits except the pirate outfit (which I really like) and the sailor outfit (which I personally like the design of better than TDS's). But the credit thing could be cultural....

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