Archive for June, 2008

Omni on Druaga 11

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Seen at Random Curiousity:

My main problem with this episode is that they spent so much time on her death and on the fight to defeat Druaga that all of the critical questions of the series still have yet to be answered. In fact, Pazuz’s death already eliminates one avenue of answers – I’m still not quite sure what he was after or what was in those caskets, and now it looks like we may never find out.

I didn’t think about it too much, because I mostly was thinking about making a post on Ahmey and her legacy. Personally I suspect that the creators rely on the connection with the game too much, or, as the silly wiki says, “It’s All There in the Manual”.

Tokikake attendance

Saturday, June 14th, 2008


At the 6pm showing last night, I counted less than 30 heads in the theater.

Jumping into a car and driving to L.A. is not a big deal for me, it’s only 4.5 hours away by I-5. However, I’m a bit busy throwing my belongings into cardboard boxes for a move which cannot be rescheduled. It simply is a bad time. I’m going to miss Yoko Ishida at AX, too. But what about the rest? Everyone has got an excuse too, apparently.

UPDATE: Scott twittered: “The crowd was still very small, probably only a dozen. The weather is crappy today, so that could be the reason for the low turnout.”

Kuro on Youtube shenagians

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Kurogane is not happy about YouTube versions of [Tower of] Druaga which started to pressure viewers to use Crunchyroll. According to him, the Druaga 10 used the upper letterbox space in the 4:3 YouTube window to advertise Crunchyroll, and Druaga 11 is truncated and ends with an offer to see the full episode at Crunchyroll.

This looks like a good time for me to say something about superiority of actually buying the episodes (I spent 1100 BOST points, or about 22 U.S. dollars thus far), and to lampoon Kuro’s cheap-ass lameness. But I won’t. What Crunchyroll is doing is just nasty. The deal was to show the series for free on YouTube. We don’t know why GONZO agreed to that, and the deal made little sense to me, but since they did, they should have followed through with it. Now we know that either Cruncyroll or GONZO is not trustworthy (if GONZO made the decision to truncate the episode, it’s them; if Crunchyroll made it behind GONZO’s back, then the obvious).

In short, Kuro is still lame for not paying for his show, but he made his decision based on the information available at the start of the season, and was deceived. That is inexcusable and outrageous.

UPDATE: Kurogane swiftly replies, with objections to the adjective “lame”. Numbers he’s giving for DVDs are pretty bad, although being in Malaysia he could have watched at BOST (the only country locked out is Japan, due to GONZO’s deal with Goia). Keep in mind that BOST sells DRM-free downloads, which makes $2/ep a much better deal than mere streaming would. In the end, he’s asking a key question:

I wonder if Author would’ve been willing to spend USD 70 (that’s the amount of ringgit that 22 USD converts to) on Druaga, if it were priced as such.

The answer is “no”. Druaga is not worth 70 bucks. That said, there are shows which I would buy for that much, and in fact I have (for example, I collected Azumanga volume-by-volume, for approximately $130).

Druaga 11

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Plot is coalescing towards the final showdown (ANN says only 12 episodes are planned, not 13).

Looking at it the other way, the chessboard is being cleared of extra pieces. But don’t worry, Coopa is still with us.

Appleseed Ex Machina

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

I’m not dead set against 3D as such, I liked Shrek. But there’s just something very wrong about the motion of people in Appleseed Ex Machina. I lasted for 24 minutes.

Maybe I’m in the Uncanny Valley with this. It certainly is pretty, in static pictures.

Scott on Tokyopop

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

The Anime Almanac takes on the issue of the Tokyopop. Since I almost do not follow the manga at all, the article contained one eye-opener for me. I knew about the Tokyopop’s big OEL push. I knew that something was fishy with it when things like Van Von Hunter began to be manufactured from scratch with an “exit strategy” of getting a Tokyopop release. But I thought that it was brought about not by Del Rey’s success, but by Tokyopop execs observing how the market for localized works is bigger than that for exotics. Consider the success of Afro Samurai: Samuel Jackson sold more than twice over Aya Hirano. It was self-evident that the key to leapfrog the competition was to create a similar hybrid (even if Afro Samurai did not exist when Tokyopop searched for their breakout).

However, many fans of Japanese manga do not like OEL titles because they lack those exotic novelties that made Tokyopop huge in that “100% Authentic” revolution.

Psychoanalyse it however you like, but let me tell you, I am outraged every time I see fake manga. The feeling of betrayal is just burning.

Now let me just say that just because a manga is created by a Westerner for a Western audience does not mean that it is a bad comic. The aforementioned Fred Gallagher and Bryan Lee O’Malley both produce two phenomenal series. I’m even planning on writing a post about Scott Pilgrim in the near future because it’s so good. Even looking at Tokyopop’s OEL titles, you will find a fantastic gem called Dramacon by Svetlana Chmakova. These series are light years beyond most Japanese manga, and they should not be overlooked simply because they’re not Japanese.

See the fallacy? Scott takes the best of OEL and compare it with the average of manga. How about comparing the “most” of OEL with the “most” of manga? Or pit Miss Chmakova against Mr. Azuma?

Apropos Fred Gallagher, it’s hard for me to understand just how he became a celebrity cartoonist. I never liked his strip. Still, he may have a few good ideas:

The company first received some flack when it was revealed that the terms of the contract to their potential Original English Language (OEL) manga artists granted the company fall “moral rights” to the artist’s works. The contract was immediately blasted by Fred Gallagher and Bryan Lee O’Malley, two highly successful OEL creators not on Tokyopop label, which generated an outcry from the community.

The two names mentioned above may not have much weight with me, but Scott Kurtz, who is an authentic American cartoonist, wrote about it twice (notice that he gives credit to Bryan Lee O’Malley for raising the rouble).

BTW, Kurtz tried to valtz with anime a few times. The last one was just embarrassing. Unfortunately, I don’t have a link saved.

UPDATE: Sixten e-mailed with the core question — do we judge by content or creator — only framed against himself:

Would you consider mine and Jason’s project, or any of Hinano’s doujins, as an “outrage” or a “betrayal”?

I’ll tell you what… If you use a fake Japanese pen name, if you produce crap in Inkscape just to milk another OEL crash program, why yes, I will!

Starlight does not pretend to be what it’s not.

J.P. Meyer‘s did not register offence on behalf of Hinano, maybe because he knows what the issue is. He pointed me to Penny-Arcade compic of 2004. Look who stands in the Megatokyo line.

He also added the following tidbit:

I think, THINK that part of the deal with OEL manga was that it appealed to people that didn’t even consider manga or comics, period. I am fairly certain that Viz got some OEL manga (which they attached the Shojo Beat label to anyway) into Cosmo Girl, for example.

UPDATE NEXT DAY: We woke Omo. Too much to quote, just read it.

UPDATE in 2013: It is anime now!

Coburn on Arjuna

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

The long article at Claiming Ground was interesting to me mostly because Arjuna probably helped me to become sufficiently disgusted with enviroprop enough to see through the dirty tricks Al Gore pulled with the poor bear years later. But by now I cannot see the show other than through the warped glass stained by the political animosity. Coburn, fortunately, can.

UPDATE: Omo adds his perspective.

Druaga 10 (late)

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Tower of Druaga is full of mysteries. I am a bit intrigued, but god help the creators if they use them for sequels. This time we learn a little bit about the mysterious duo of ghosts (I call the blue one H1 and the tan one H2), but not too much. H1 always was cold. H2 talks about waiting for special someone and informs Jil about Neeba getting into a pinch. So I’d say they are something like opposite halves of Ishtar.

Dunno if this is significant, but here’s the list of people who recognized the end of the summer: Gilgamesh (duh), Ahmey (!), Parsuz, Kelb, Neeba, and… Kaaya. Oh yes, she sure has an agenda, check out this face:

Regretfuly, Druaga suffers from the generic face syndrome. I only distinguish H2 and Kaaya because of the ghost glow that surrounds H2. On the other hand, Kaaya has awakened H2, so maybe it’s all right.

Why there are no Russian animebloggers

Monday, June 9th, 2008

I asked this question before, and now a simple explanation: they blog in English:

It is not exactly my first time of anime blogging in general […] Unfortunately i have no desire to do any kind of coherent anime blogging in Russian, thus I am here.

Via Owen, who alerted me via IM to the call for co-bloggers (apparently he himself was referred to it by isubun, a new co-blogger at Impz’s).

Unlike the Russian ones, Japanese animebloggers do exist (some look just like our typical AB residents (I only select the link because it’s one of the very few who continue to follow Druaga, The Tower of)). Russia and Japan have comparable population size and dynamic, but anime is essentially Japanese in its origin, hence the difference. But then, why would not everyone blog anime in Japanese instead? Good question. Perhaps one day! So far I limit myself to random comments at Moero Amazon.

UPDATE: The Nekona is a fine blog, actually. OK, so some do exist, at least in the “newsblog” category. Send more tips!

UPDATE: Steven reminded me about Yes, it’s a blog, and it’s written in Russian, so it qualifies. It’s just not what I would like to read, which was my secret goal…

UPDATE LATER: We are promised an essay in English in the future, but for now the thesis seems to be that “your mom is a slut” as an argument does not occur in English animeblogging as often as in Russian one. I’m not quite sure if that’s true. We have plenty of the same line of reasoning. But so far the silent majority sides with Jeff Lawson who wrote:

At the same time, remember that, as part of a community, respect is something that must be earned. No one likes an asshole. Picking fights may seem like a quick and easy way to get attention, but when all is said and done, what are you left with? A bad reputation, that’s what.”

Once priorities are established, the linking and the implicit trust it carries elevates blogs such as Lawson’s and depresses such as Link’s. However, if, due to a certain defect of the national character, the majority in the country X likes assholery, the same selection is going to result in a different outcome (It’s completely legitimate. Raph Levien mulled recomputation of trust based on various roots to create different results based on user’s wishes.)

MORE: Evgeni Kantor wrote in to promote his blog in Hebrew, Random Otaku. Thanks to Owen (a different one) and his Pango library, my Firefox renders it in a beatiful and mysterious script. Check out this blogroll, too. It looks like is Israeli Blogger.

New Haruhi

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

I was busy with life for a couple of days, and now I’m not only missing the Tower of Druaga, but completely overwhelmed by the bloggage. I think, one most important note is the designs of new Haruhi at Canned Dogs.

They should’ve given it to Toei, for lulz. But no, it’s Kyoto again.

P.S. Kuro hosts comments for this.