Archive for September, 2007

Lucky☆Star ends

Friday, September 21st, 2007

What a run. I do not recall any such patchwork of brilliance and mediocrity in the same anime. Fortunately, the good parts prevailed.

Liked: On the whole, yes.
Rewatch: If time permits.

Linkage:

Shirukii (Anime Blog ga Arimasu)

And of course how could I forget Lucky Channel, almost a show on its own. These short segments often made me laugh more than the main episode, mostly due to the hilarity of Shiraishi Minoru. It was funny seeing the animosity between Shiraishi and Akira build up throughout the series and then suddenly explode at the end. Many lulz were had.

Oh, and sleeves. You can’t forget about the sleeves.

I wish I could share the sentiment. But many liked it, so…

Suguru (Dame-Dame)

Lucky Star is really two shows in one though, with the Lucky Channel segment at the end of each episode–and Lucky Channel is probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Anywhere. Ever. Sometimes it was better than others, but that episode towards the end with Minoru finally going on a rampage was just Legendary.

Another Lucky Channel partisan. IMHO, the title of the Legendary episode belongs to The Rant. Rampage is trivial by comparison.

Kabitzin (Sea Slugs)

However, the biggest weakness I saw in Lucky Star was Lucky Channel; every time that little cat mewed, I would get a nervous pang and check to the progress bar to see whether or not it was signaling the start of Lucky Channel. I thought the parts where Akira threw the ashtray at Shiraishi and how Akira and Shiraishi hated each other in the last episode were ok, but overall I consistently found Lucky Channel to be an unfunny pandering to those who love Shiraishi.

Indeed.

Avatar

… if I buy it when it comes out over here (doubtless in a cheap box, I can’t imagine buying this show disc by disc), I’ll be skipping the Lucky Channel segments.

Well, if the industry insider cannot take the portrayal of the industry… Hmm.

P.S. I enjoyed the most the moments when Lucky Star stepped beyond the referrential humour, such as the ep.23. Reviewers mostly glossed over how the show gelled together when it hit longer arcs, but I think it was really noticeable.

UPDATE: Steven asks if Kamichu had the the same quality swings. I think not, but perhaps I fail at explaining it. Most obvious difference is that segments of Lucky Star come in all sizes, the longest taking one whole episode (IIRC, Comiket). Best segments after ep.23 and the special visit were in ep.11, which had two: the Christmas cake and the father/daughter duo again. And in general, Kamichu tried to tell a story in each episode, which Lucky Star did not attempt as a rule (the ep.24 being an exception).

Ironically, one of the most grating issues with Kamichu for me was its pretentious art contrasting with bad lapses and poor animation. In contrast, art of Lucky Star remains consistently impressive throughout the worst storytelling since… I don’t even know what. Galaxy Angel, maybe?

UPDATE: fatestaysmart (atamaga warui)

I don’t know about the rest of visual culture otaku fandom, but I was highly disappointed with how the Director, or whomever had the final say, executed the final ending of Lucky Star. I have nothing against Minoru Shiraishi and his playful, shameless antics that took the place of the karaoke endings. However, I do have a problem with them ending the series with him spinning around in an office chair and surveying nature while doing another anime theme song cover (Urusei Yatsura’s “Ai Wa Boomerang” (Beautiful Dreamer)) as the closure to the series. Once again, no gripe against the song, but rather the ending.

The answer, I think has to do with weather one considers the ED a part of the show or not. If ED is a part, then the series finale calls for a suitable adaptation, like in Stellvia. In this case though, the ending is the blinding light. Or I suppose this is the thinking. Average person stops their TiVo when the credits start to roll anyway, right?

I was a bit disappointed, too. But not too much.

Anime experts, LOL

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

Seen at Daily Yomiuri Online:

[Trulee Karahashi, the new CEO of SJPA (promoters of AX)] thought Gundam Wing might be even more popular among American girls than boys, despite its seemingly guyish “mecha” (giant robot warrior) theme.

I’m pretty sure that Trulee cannot be so naiive, but I suppose the yaoi is something she decided not to bring up with stolid journos at Daily Yomiuri.

Heisei’s 2007 scandal list

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

Heisei Democracy compiled a list of scandals and mishaps in 2007 anime. It looks pretty thick even with the year still to run out. Check this out:

Darker Than Black: The show’s production manager ran away with the manuscript.

You just can’t make this up.

Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight!: Due to complaints about the scenes of school graffiti in the OP they were altered in mid-production.

Truthfuly, the graffitti pissed me off livid too, but Manabi is still one of the 3 greatest series of all times, so I was silent about it until now. I do not remember any changes to the OP though. Maybe fansubbers boycotted it and mixed episodes with the old OP? I’ll see when I get later R2 DVDs.

I wonder how much of this is due to the increased exposure of both the shows and their creators online… it seems like a lot of these incidents would’ve gone unnoticed in the pre-internet age.

Indeed.

2chan niceboats Higurashi

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

As seen at Canned Dogs:

News site J-Cast goes onto 2ch and sees people joking about how the murder’s like higurashi, and writes an article saying that people on the internet are pointing to higurashi as being related to the murder. Sanspo, trying not to lose out, writes a news article saying the same thing.

TV show “Move!” picks up the news and runs it on TV.

I have to admit, I laughed a bit, although the situation is grave. First School Days, now Higurashi… What are they going to cancel next?

BTW, I haven’t heard any calls to legislate axes out. If the girl used a gun, that would be the first thing reported by wire services. Why the double standard? I suppose axes are just not as cool as guns and do not provoke the same envy from all the uncool people.

RahXephon addendum

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

I talked with my kids about RahXephon and several items cropped up. Needless to say, this is going to spoil a lot.

Firstly, criticisms:

* Why does nobody recognize Ixtil when she appears in the shape of Mishima?

   I supposed that it has to do with the way people change over time, and heard “but all that changed is haircut!” A vigorous discussion of anime visual language ensued…

* Why is Ayato of 14 looks the same as Ayato of 17?

  OK, I agree, that really was a blooper. Haruka remembered Ayato chibified, so it would cost creators nothing to adjust him, but they forgot.

* Asahina is superfluous.

   Not sure about that, I suppose it’s all a part of the overall story. If we really start cutting things away, Commander’s daughter can be cut too.

Next, missed items:

Girls delivered through the shrine were Quon and Maiya. They are usually right about such things because they read FAQs. I could not quite figure it out, and thought that perhaps they were Haruka and Meg.

A. says that Meg had a crush on Soichi for a long time and it was obvious because she made him presents etc. According to her tesimony, teenage girls are crush prone this way, which is why she switches to Ayato so quickly. I don’t know why, but that storyline took me by surprise.

And finally, things nobody understands:

Why did the manifestation of Ixtil as summoned by D look exactly like the
Ayato’s version? We know that Ayato modelled it after Mishima Senior,
but D never met her. He could not know how she looked except by studying
Ayato’s art.

I mentioned it before on my own, but again, why do Quon and Ayato have to fight and create the whole apocalipsis?

All in all, the show is thick and is asking for a second pass, but it’s too bloody and creepy, so maybe later.

UPDATE: A couple of postings at Animesuki may be interesting. One (by “kujoe”):

Barbem was really more of a schemer behind the scenes. By paving the way for certain events, he was able to put the two Olins against each other in the final battle. But since Ayato was just a supplementary catalyst of sorts for Quon, I kinda assumed that Barbem expected Quon to win–which of course didn’t happen due to Quon helping Ayato in the end. I guess it wouldn’t really matter who won as long as Barbem got what he wanted.

Two, by “MrProphet”: (abridged, see context for the interview)

Oshii […] These days, the fact that there is no controversy concerning copying in animation and that there’s no awareness of it is a big problem. In my mind, the greatest achievement of EVA is that it is self-aware of being a copy. That was a huge change, and it was a big turning point. That’s why I pay attention to Anno. Not about what he’s going to make but as a situation. […]

Izubuchi: You’re telling me to consciously master that (laughs). But for this job, I don’t really know if it’s a copy of not, but I did feel like I wanted to try and see if that route couldn’t be followed once more. I suppose that might mean that it’s a copy of a route that’s perpetuated to this day.

MediaDefender

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Ars has the best scoop, and Bruce Schneier offers an additional transcript. This seems like a real war (PCs 0wned, DoS, and guvmint), which we haven’t yet started feeling despite the best efforts of ADV’s Ledford and the like, but the one is bound to remake anime as we know it. In the U.S., pirating of the mainstream TV dwarfs the anime distribution while sitting on the same basic technology, so whatever happens there is going to happen here. I am concerned the most how the outright anime pirates like KAA cannot be distinguished from normal fansubbers and thus all are going to be swept into this.

Reminiscing wave

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Bloggers love rehashing their path to enlightment and the gateway drug. Today, Nick and Mark succumb to the temptation. Truth to be told, I’d love to share some of that with the world too, but I don’t think anyone would be interested, because my generation gap is backwards: I saw Speed Racer on a 16mm film. DBZ for me was what Naruto is for them (except that I liked DBZ, up until the Buu; I stayed with Naruto for 130+ episodes).

No, it’s much worse

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Steven mentions that “every three months we get at least a couple of dozen new titles”. You’d wish… Although not as high as spring’s 56 (!), the upcoming season features 42 new shows. The scoop is at HH Hashi, who herself links to MoonPhase (not a permalink — Japanese are so…). Worryingly, I don’t see anything I’d want to watch, except perhaps Clannad and ef. Tons of blood and gore, a yuri-fest, a Gundam, and a few harems. The bacteria people can in theory spring a Rocket Girls class surprise on us, but the odds are against it.

Nadesico ends

Monday, September 17th, 2007

I only watched Nadesico because it was somewhat of a classic.

But it was pretty good, although I think it’s another series suffering from being overlong: half of it can be thrown away without damage to the story.

I’ve got some funny screencaps with subtitles like, “Perhaps you should have watched a greater variety of anime as well.”

Liked: Yeah…
Rewatch: No

P.S. I expected to make a write-up, but the problem is, I’m still in the shadow of RahXephon. The two are incomparable in the psychological footprint they left. Nadesico wasn’t leaving much of an impression from the start: it’s going to be a record low number of notes for a 26-episode series, just six of them:

5 – Such an old anime, yet no USSR anymore (1996 vintage).
5 – OK, Megumi being nasty to captain twice. WTF?
5 – The HR officer dude is better than he looks.
11 – Too many women. Pilot chick is kind of ok.
22 – Bokunenjin: Translator Dan Kanemitsu (Script and timing Andrew Kent)
23 – Screencaps about anime (voice acting)

So I just don’t have any material to go on. If anyone wants a write-up, Kaedrin had one.

Impz’s paper

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

When I heard about the Impz’s paper/thesis, he only mentioned that a) his major was media economics, and b) he studies anime blogs and collects some data on links. It sounded a bit strange, because media economics people study things like the way ownership and consolidation affect the news coverage; they are not content oriented. So it sounded more like something they do in media communications rather. Yesterday he posted more details, which make it clearer. Apparently the economics part comes in through the SEO angle. SEO sounds evil, but I suppose a man has to do what is necessary. I wish him success and many publications. He’ll need at least three conference papers and a peer-reviewed journal article before Annenberg will consider him.

Another notable thing about it, nobody wants to study blog comments. Links carry additional information which can be tapped for publication, but comments are just foam floating across the ocean of blogs for the most part. Sometimes they get together to form giant islands of scum, like Slashdot. But studying that would be studying an entirely different phenomena, a something that group comm and/or anthropology majors do.

UPDATE: Impz posted an update on his publications pipeline. I should add, I never doubted that he knew what he was doing.