Archive for December, 2007

She fit into capsuel

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Brickmuppet posted an image with, among a serious political message, an alternative re-enactment of the infamous press-conference (unfortunately, written by an agitated teen):

I’m just a schoolgirl who fit in the capsule..and my sister here is…
No it’s not actually nepotism… It’s kinda complicated… but she fit in the capsuel too.
No she doesn’t look a thing like me… Like I said, it’s complicated.

Man, I so can see that. In reality, Director intervened to suppress the information that Matsuri was Yukari’s sister (BTW, has anyone noticed that Matsuri never uses kanji for her name?). But if not, it would be even more fun. Since SSA is not a government agency, they can appoint anyone they want, monkeys, twins, Konata Izumi…

Jason Miao on ef.12

Monday, December 31st, 2007

At first I wanted to save this for a long post, but… Seen at DbD:

Remember when Simon first went into space and forcibly combined with Arc Gurren to form Arc Gurren Lagann and then broke space/time/this blog? If that were a 10 on the chill meter, Renji and Chihiro reconciling, with Chihiro literally and figuratively breaking free of her chains, is a 9. It would have been a 10 if we saw the sheep breaking free and running wild too.


Omo’s year 2007

Monday, December 31st, 2007

It’s long, but not boring. I’ll pick just a few tidbits.

What’s amazing about 2007 was I managed to get a new top 10 anime on my list in the form of Manabi Straight. I’ve been watching anime “seriously” for over 10 years now, so having something added to my all-time top list has been a pretty rare event.

Preach on, bro. Manabi Straight is on my top three. Granted, if we count since 2002, when I lost my mind and started studying Japanese, I only watched “seriously” for 5 years, so it is likely to slip down the order a bit. But top 10 is virtually assured.

Rocket Girls was probably my number 1 guilty pleasure in 2007, but I think it might just be some kind of cognitive dissonance at work from owning and watching a copy of Wandaba Style and trying to make sense of Tactical Roar.

I don’t feel any guilt in the slightest, it was such a fun show. The story and pacing were great, characters were pretty nice too. If only it wasn’t vying for the worst animation of the year prize, it would be a comedy hit, I’m certain.

But all the fanfare L*S had just serve to remind me people have no sense of humor. Minami-ke was so much funnier but only a fraction of people watched that compared to Lucky Star.

Two points here. First, although I did not like Lucky Star all that much, I think Omo sells it short because he’s obstinate about classifying it together with physical comedy shows. Once you start thinking about Lucky Star as slice-of-life, it works just fine, at least at the level of Sketchbook and Hidamari (I haven’t seen Aria). Second, Minami-ke’s biggest problem is Kana. It is as if Ichigo Mashimaro has taught creators nothing.

Quick note for Nova

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

Nova writes:

The first two thirds of this episode concludes Renji’s story, though I’m not sure if a miracle actually happens to allow Chihiro to overcome her disability (since her representative chains DO break).

There wasn’t any miracle, but by learning to trust Renji completely, Chihiro can borrow his memory (to an extent she can access it with words — she cannot see what he remembers unless he suddenly develops a talent to sketch). Therefore, she only needs to keep thinking about him and their relationship and then she pretty much does not need a diary anymore. This is why chains broke. However, I certainly hope she will not become too careless, because after all accidents happen, and the diary has a certain useful rigidity. I can see Renji asking Chihiro to “recall” certain events simply because his own recollection is fuzzy.

I think I made it

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

Ani-nouto is at Momotato’s links page, and in exclusive company of Heisei, Bateszi, Lawson’s, Omo’s and a few others. This discovery was actually a great boon for me, because it was nearly impossible to find readable Japanese anime blogs, and the links list has them conveniently pre-filtered. I even rejected one already, Houtou Opera, on the account of not setting the charset right in 21st century.

ef at forums

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

I feel like I need to let go but just one more thing, as seen at AoD forums:

Speaking of which, it was pointed out to me that the first letter of the title of every episode, put in order, spell out the name of the OP “euphoric field” — except for the fact that that there are 13 letters not 12. So a 13th episode is virtually assured. The new ef video game comes out a few weeks after the final ef DVD comes out — what a perfect opporunity to release that OVA! Then you have the bit about how every episode contains a secret password you can enter on the website… Or how about how DVD 1 includes a 32-page manga by “Nagi Shindou”? Or how some of the lines in the show mirrored perfectly lines spoken in the prologue (to the word), except it was a different character saying them? This show is almost too well-planned… it’s sort of creepy…

Hmm. Someone quickly suggested that it may be a typo or a prank, like the non-existing significance of umbrella handles.

UPDATE: Animesuki people pointed out that ‘d’ is inside ep.12.

Comments are eeeevil

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

In comments at Omo’s, DMdm sez:

ef has going for it more than just skilled use of technical pens and photoshop. As Link says, it’s taken a pretty tired genre — bishoujo game adaptations, a genre that has never produced anything particularly good — and produced a powerful set of stories braided together to form different views of a single theme. It’s a bit like the way Nadesico used the powered-suit genre to look at different aspects of memory (personal, cultural (fan nostalgia) and societal (history)).

We’ve talked a lot about the visual trademarks Shaft has brought to this work, but, as Jeff said a while ago, that could just be lipstick on a pig. I think what makes the visuals work is the way the story is being put together: three intertwining stories, each reflecting on the others, each taking words from the others and using them in completely different ways (sometimes with almost opposite meanings (at least momentarily — a lot of that may get resolved in the wrap up that I haven’t seen)).

The above was merely smart, but then he just goes into intellectual Super-Sayan mode:

Sort of as a continuation on my Gedo Senki remarks, I’d like to think that directors are looking at ef and learning lessons. But no one seems to have learned much from Nadesico, so I’m not too confident in that respect. I suspect we’ll see a lot of text thrown at the screen artlessly, glowing characters, and weird color palettes, without the story (and interplay of stories) that ef has employed so well. […]

Man I laughed so hard. It’s a good thing that my phlegm is flowing freely now and the cough does not hurt as much anymore.

I am, however, unhappy that I have to rescan ancient blog entires to get these nuggets of wit and wisdom. I only ran into the above because I collated a link collection for ef. This man really should get himself a blog and not make me rescan random blog entries… oh, wait.

UPDATE: BTW, it’s a different “dm” from DarkMirage (thanks Sanri for the reminder).

ef ends

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

To sum it up, ef certainly was inspirational, and ended very well.

Among the anime I saw, ef seems to fall into the unique class together with Haibane Renmei. Unfortunately, I think it does not measure up, and this is why:

  • ef overdoes on the imagery. It does not hurt the story, but it hurts viewers. The bulk of the imagery was poorly integrated: it only served to illustrate, or even to wink at the audience. In contrast, halo and wings of haibane were perfectly integrated (e.g. the holy donut). I’m quite convinced that a lot of this excess was only done to save money on animation.
  • The split between the two clusters of characters hurts a lot. Switching between them makes the series to aquire a patchwork feel of Lucky Star. And certainly it was avoidable, just let Renji and Hiro to meet once, talk their respective issues. I blame the creators who were unable to break with the game heritage.

I can make more bogus analogies, for example Renji is Chihiro’s Rakka in the finale, although fortunately in this case I think he’d do what was necessary even if Chihiro didn’t call him by name. But that’s just the mind idling. I’m sure we’ll see more comparisons in the blogs, each more ridiculous than the one before. For now I’m comfortable with my classification of ef as Haibane-type, only not as powerful. It’s still very unique and interesting.

Liked: YES
Rewatch: Yes

P.S. The ep.10 redeemed the triangle of retards in my eyes at least somewhat. And I appreciate how men of the show get a grip (albeit helped with a good punch in the face or a miracle (tangentially, I had an experience of a paper airplane getting stuck in a raising thermal)).

The Astronomicon has ended

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Astro added the parting notice without updating the site feed, but Fledge was on the ball.

UPDATE: And then almost immediately he started a new blog, without an announcement of any kind. What a sneaky man… Oh, wait. I’ve done almost the same.

This is not a Top 10

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Spurred undoubtedly by the unexpected popularity of Ani-nouto among the faithful, I undertook the most comprehensive attempt to keep up with the season yet. The result was the same, however: only one series reached the finish. The rising attrition is another illustration to my bandwidth issues.

Firstly, I started out with mapping everything remotely worth watching. AoMM (now DbD) was late with a thin slicing, so I used Tenka Seiha and added things off Hashi-hime’s list (e.g. Tales of Symphonia). Resultant shows entered the rally, although I kept adding obviously missing titles, as the following list attests.

Mokke: seen 0. Sounds like something I’d like to see, but… the bandwidth.

Moyashimon: seen 0. Sounds like something I’d really like to see, but… the bandwidth. Also, the trap?

Prism Ark: seen 0. Clearly had no chance, but Aroduc liked it.

Kimikiss: seen 1. I regret that I let Clannad to lead over it. I may yet catch more of this beauty before the year ends or thereafter. It was suspended because Mao was a bitch, but then I saw Kei Shindou. Uh. I guess everything is learned in comparison.

Myself;Yourself: seen 1. OP/ED were nice, but it clearly followed the psychotic comedy route. I’m sort of glad I didn’t stick with it after seeing how ABgA dealt with it in the end.

Keitai Shoujo: seen 1 (or, rather, 0.25 because it’s a 6-minute episode). I think it’s fair to say that it’s a lame attempt to reimagine To Heart, unless they pull something absolutely astonishing in the ep.6.

Minami-ke: seen 1.2. Kana is insufferable. The acting is not a wooden as in Ichigo Mashimaro, but still not enough.

Clannad: seen 2. This is better than Kanon where I hated every character, so I wanted to give it a big chance (at the expense of Kimikiss, essentially). Clannad threw the chance away with the fighter girl and her hapless admirer. And let’s face it, the rest of them weren’t much: mostly retards and crackpots. The quiet pan-eating girl looked ok, but I suspect she’d be a nutcase too (although Lawson says not).

Sketchbook: seen 4, largely because Astro made me. Not a bad trip really, but…

Bamboo Blade: seen 5. This is better than Muteki Kanban Musume: the humor is less repetitive, and has a story which ends somewhere. The only reason I finished MKM and not BB is that BB faced far stiffer competition. I think I’ll get R1 DVDs of this.

Dennou Coil: seen 8. Absolutely awesome production, design, writing, direction, everything. It’s a juggernaut, tour de force, and thus reminds me of Shingu very much, which is also popular mostly among connoisseurs. More is said elsewhere.

ef: seen 9 and is well on track for completion. It’s a reasonably uncontroversial win, despite the sex (but a happy sex!), strange frame composition and “distracting” objects, irritatingly gratious references, and on and on and on. I want a timeskip epilogue with Chihiro’s children, but I know that it won’t happen. Although, how about an OVA, SHAFT?

I found no hidden gem this season in the way Rocket Girls were in the Winter. The utterly irrelevant previews aside, anyone who saw one episode knew what ef was going to be like. It only surprised with the strength of the execution, that’s all. Others found Moyashimon, but alas not me. And I think it wasn’t well hidden, frankly. Sucking rotten gull innards and leather-clad hot women were bound to attract attention. If highly skilled professionals who made Dennou Coil used that trope… you know it is guaranteed to work.