Archive for March, 2008

Starting in the middle

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Steven began to watch Ranma 1/2 from the Season 2, and it sure looked like fun. Now he’s buying Season 1 and 3.

This reminds me how I started watching Naruto from ep.32: it was awesome out of this world. And the next episode was known as Sakura Blossoms in English.

Yesterday Avatar said on #animedvd that he started Nanoha in the middle too, and most likely would not become such a fan if he had to start from the beginning.

Only three examples, but I wonder. Perhaps it’s a good way to approach long-running franchizes.

This is not to say you have to like it. We watched an episode of Dennou Coil at TV in the hotel, and Ana-sempai said it was “pretty, but creepy”, which I thought was apt for an episode with a flashback to a talking Illegal. Don swore off Naruto because one of his friends saw an episode where Hinata was beaten up savagely (I’ll provide link when I get back to America). Random selection does not always work to the show’s advantage. But it might help the correct judgement.

UPDATE: Could not find the relevant link in time, but here it is now:

Or, if you’re like me and spoilers don’t ruin a show for you, you could actually watch an episode or two of A’s -first-. Total accident – downloaded the wrong episodes, started watching, said, “Hey, this show is throwing a lot of characters at me like I should know who they are…” “You’re watching A’s, stupid.” “Ohhhhh…” With many shows, this would be a major turn-off; with Nanoha, it was something of an advantage, because the start to A’s is VERY strong, especially compared with the first season. But a little confusing, so ideally you should watch it the right way around.

Yeah.

To Heart video legend

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Anyone who has seen To Heart knows that video looks somewhat bleak. Fans also may know about the massive restoration effort. The nearest to the official story that I was able to find is located at the official website (100% flash — but the important catalog is available in PDF). Reprinted from Right Stuf Catalog – Fall 2006, there’s a article by Judy DeFrieze, Assistant Producer.

Judy writes that original masters were destroyed. She is careful not to mention what was the master for the restoration (I presume it was a tape, perhaps Beta), but the effort itself dealt with problems of the film: jitter due to improperly glued segments, giant white blobs of glue, natural degradation of film, and build-up of dirt. Judy also calls the process “frame-by-frame” and “manual”. The article is accompained by a thumbnail-sized illustration.

All this was fascinating enough to grab a DVD of R2 To Heart yesterday. I watched it but I cannot tell if it uses the video which TRSI cleaned or an independent production. It seems to have some of the film defects, but I do not remember if they were present in the R1 version. Screenshots that I do have on the blog are identical to the R2 DVD.

Although the show itself seems the same, the Omake 6 looks much brighter in R2.

That was a surprise. Worth the money in any case.

TAF pictures

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

Alas, they are not mine. I’m still away from a CF reader, so my collection is locked inside my camera. But Daijobu has them. I’m not in the frame…

The line stretched from the Big Sight all the way beyond Aomi and just across the waterway bridge there, but it only took about an hour on Saturday morning. The TAF blog reported about 51.9 thousand visitors that day. The organizers of TAF made AX and SPJA look pretty bad.

UPDATE: It looked like this:

It’s about 1.5km from this point to the entrance of the Big Sight, and another 800m inside.

ZnT S3

Friday, March 28th, 2008

In passing, stores in Akihabara are plastered with ads for Zero no Tsukaima Season 3. It features a new (?) character, who is taller than Loise, nicely built, blond, dressed in an emerald tunic, and has seriously pointy ears. No pictures because a) store owners prohibit photography inside, and b) I don’t have CF reader on me anyway. Milking makes me rage. I sort of liked the original ZnT, but extending series like this must be punisheable as public obscenity. This is not Aria for crissakes.

TAF is tomorrow

Friday, March 28th, 2008

I settled in enough to ride the subway and receive our tickets from Mr. Rio Fujita, a collegue from our company’s Tokyo office. I even visited Tonkatsu Tonki, thanks to J. Greely’s instructions. All in all, navigating was remarkably trouble-free so far.

Akihabara was rather meh. It’s interesting how there’s a ton of merch for Maburaho and Mahoromatic, but nothing for Mahoraba. Now I wonder if it’s not licensed because R1 companies consider it a poor seller and avoid it. That would be a great misfortune if true.

It looks that aside from Rio, I’m not meeting anyone. Since my Japanese is not where it would sustain even a halting conversation, I need an English speaker. But the only fluent person I knew moved to Ahisashikawa. And if I run into any animebloggers at TAF, I won’t recognize them.

Unless something comes up unexpectedly, I’m going to spend Monday wandering around aimlessly.

Hourglass ends

Monday, March 24th, 2008

In the end I marathoned the remainder of the damn thing in two days, since I leave for Tokyo tomorrow and I didn’t want to leave Hourglass of Summer hanging. God that was long. The amazing part, by the way, is how the OVA lasts for 2 episodes only. I have to admit I’m curious how they managed to compress it.

Overall, I had some good fun, but it wasn’t substantial enough entertainment. For those who went there, I think the best parts were at the end, when Ai and Kaho let their jealosy to get better of them. Also, Takeshi was awesome, many times (I penciled “Takeshi is awesome” 4 times in various places). I wonder if he gets Kaho on the Ai path. That’d be cool. In any case, visual novels do not seem like anything I’m interested in, but I had to try to be sure.

Oh, and almost forgot. One thing I had in mind starting this trip was Omo’s comment:

I think the ultimate achievement of ef is bringing that visual novel flair and style to the anime format. That’s why we’ve never seen something like this before…

Sadly, I lost it. Somewhere in the beginning, when I got over the discomfort with the medium and found the right mental framework (“audiobook manga on DVD”), I thought that I was beginning to see what he meant, but now the feeling has dissipated. Should’ve operationalized it back then.

Hinano on lines in Boston

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Hinano was there and wrote:

For 2009 there wont be a line cause half the con isn’t coming back lol

AX used to have the worst lines across all conventions period. I personally queued for 6 hours once in the huge hangar where the attendees were corralled. This went on more than 10 years. All this time AX continued to grow. There were lines at 8 thousand in attendance, 20 thousand, 45 thousand. People just keep coming. What is the reason to think that Anime Boston is different? Hinano may be bitter now, she may even hold the grudge for a year, but 3 new fans will step in her stead in 2009. This will continue until anime itself peaks out in America.

BEI licenses Rocket Girls

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

My wildest dreams have come true (via — only found it through a backlink, because DiGiKerot’s summary mentioned Geass and nothing else).

As a bonus, RG is licensed by the sane half of Bandai.

Hung on Anime Blog Awards

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Seen at BasuGasuBakuhatsu:

Wait… who did set this up? The email I got form my form was just signed by “The Anime Blog Awards Committee.” At first I thought it was “The Anime Blog” who was setting it up, but I’m not so sure now. It all seems a bit shady.

I’m not claiming to be an Internet super-sleuth (as “metantei” was translated in Haruhi), but they aren’t really hiding. It says right there in the footer: “Modified for The Anime Blog Awards by mellow_bunny 2008.” It has AB.net Donation Drive gauge. And the e-mail was sent from 116.14.79.112, which resolves to bb116-14-79-112.singnet.com.sg (it’s a /15 block, but you can fuzzy-search your own server logs).

So at least the identity of the Committee secretary’s is known. In HK movies they would kidnap Mellow and toture him until he named the others.

BOST announces Druaga

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

As seen at their news page, BOST will show speedsubbed Tower of Druaga. Unlike the Keitai Shoujo, Druaga is a conventional-format series. It’s not available in their store yet, so I don’t know the price point.

I don’t remember if I went on record about it, but I’m pessimistic about BOST, because I expect ad-supported streamers to win in the long run over pay services. This is how it always was on the Web. However, I’m going to stick with BOST until the bitter end, because no other service works with my hardware/software configuration as well as them. Therefore, I wish them success. Also, you cannot help but root for a 5-person underdog team.

UPDATE: It turns out that BOST is screwed, because Gonzo offers same titles to Crunchyroll and Youtube (via). Poor schmucks, media business is where dog eats dog. Although BOST streams in higher resolution than YouTube, there’s no way anyone is going to pay $2 per episode for it. Myself? OK, I might…

UPDATE: CalAggie follows the story too:

The highest free quality out of the three websites would seem to come from BOST but YouTube has a boatload more traffic and reach than the other two, mainly due to its embedding option. Crunchyroll is buddy-buddy with select publishers but pretty much everyone else hates them.

Oh, that’s right. It’s quite possible that Druaga will be free on BOST, to test the website under greater load and longer episodes, and the introduction of paid service be delayed. This will insulate them from customer complaints somewhat in case of snags with the streaming. The question is, do they have enough money to last until opening of the revenue service?