Archive for February, 2010

DarkMirage on Summer Wars

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Since I did not like Tokikake at all, I scour the Internet high and low for an authority who finds Summer Wars lacking in order to justify my own refusal to waste time and money on it. Today, Dark Mirage:

Character development in the story is practically non-existent. Where it does exist, it’s really not any good. Considering the story’s premise and Kenji being depicted as slightly socially awkward, one would expect some kind of character growth to occur as a result of his interactions with the Jinnouchi family (he practically said as much himself at one point in the movie), but that doesn’t really happen. In fact, for a main character, he does surprisingly little throughout the movie. Oh sure he gets the girl in the end, but for what reason I just can’t say.

Of course, every work of fiction is flawed in some ways especially when a lot of things are subjective. It’s not about how many rights or wrongs, but whether the things that are done right are more important than the flaws. Summer Wars, in spite of all its execution flaws, provides an extremely enjoyable and heart-warming experience that will hopefully leave a longer-lasting impression than its abysmally bad sci-fi component.

So, wait… Both sci-fi and character parts are so bad that most of the review dwells on that and the sum of the parts is enjoyable and hearwarming (thanks to a big family)? I think I got the message.

The big search for Idolmaster videos

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

I poked around the Internet search engines and sharing sites a bit, but had to give up. Only found a couple of interesting raws, but not specifically what I was looking for (e.g. “relations” by Chihaya etc.). The only thing I learned was that the game apparently does 720p.

A more personal approach was more productive. I managed to get in touch with the gentleman who arranged the showings at LCAD and I obtained a preliminary agreement to get his videos through a direct contact at El Paso Anime Con. It’s a longer drive than LCAD, but then the chance to taste the free air of Texas is a good perk.

Midnight Tease on Naruto

Friday, February 26th, 2010

The pattern looks familar:

The other recent oddity is that, completely out of the blue, I decided to watch Naruto on Crunchyroll. I never, ever thought I would do this. I’ve never had anything against Naruto, per se… just against the kids that watched it on Cartoon Network. I had to give it some respect, of course… Naruto brought a whole new generation of Americans to anime; but I watched a couple of episodes and it just seemed; well, silly and more than a little stupid.

Anyway, I started watching two weeks ago and I’m just about 100 episodes in, now. I was surprised early on, after a few episodes, to discover that I was enjoying myself and wanted to know what happened next. Sixty or seventy episodes in I was completely floored to discover that I hadn’t had as much fun watching an anime series in *years*. Yes, this series has it’s problems; especially in pacing. […]

Ah-ha! That’s the spirit! 7-8 episodes a day (100/14) is what I would’ve done of Naruto too, if I were young and healthy and had the time to burn. To this day Naruto remains the series with which I stuck for the longest time (I rearched somewhere beyond ep.136). I will probably never repeat such excercise. Sorry, LoGH.

The two main supporting characters don’t get quite as good treatment; genius student Sasuke is whipped around like a rag doll by the plot…early in the series you get the feeling Sasuke is actually the protagonist; later on he’s a massive deus ex machina. The female lead Sakura is present, so far, just for Naruto to have a crush on. She doesn’t do anything. Even when she does something, she doesn’t do anything.

You mean aside ep.22 where she saved Sasuke’s sorry ass from a life-threatening injury because be became disoriented due to a bruised ego? But I understand the nature of the complaint. She lost the power race early on. I think it would not be a big spoiler to observe that Kishimoto “fixed” the problem by rapidly powering her up for Shippuuden

Anyway, good times.

R5 Haibane Renmei unboxing

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Today, USPS made me to pick up a box with the R5 release of Haibane Renmei by Reanimedia.

The box was far too big for a DVD set, because it contained a poster.

To the box set and the poster, Reanimedia added a stack of mini-calendars for anime they released. The girl with a mop is DieBuster 2. Yes, I’m still confused.

The real treasure is the fabulous booklet. Althogh it largely repeats the contents of booklets in the Pioneer release, Reanimedia had to make the format bigger and create a new layout from scratch, because Russian is a verbose language.

BTW, I’m not bothered by the two first DVDs sharing a spindle. There were not any scratches.

The aforementioned poster goes up immediately to improve my humble abode.

Now, for the contents. The infamous DVD menu is… pretty nice.

The rest is… very strange. I like the voices (except Nemu — phoned in by Yekaterina Toborovets). Reki (Veronika Raytsiz) and Rakka (Marina Yur’eva) are just about perfect. And it is quite tickling to hear their ideomatic expressions. For example, Reki opens with “вот это да… ничего себе…” for the “こりゃ、たいへんだ” of the original. Priceless.

Finally, it took me about 5 minutes to see something weird: a subtitle that says “младокрылам”, which, as far as I know, is not a valid conjugation of anything. It should probably be “младокрыльям” or “младокрылым”. But hey… I can watch it raw anyway.

Or I would, except that the v.1 DVD produces rather severe vibrations in my player. It’s out of balance. And I failed to find any home remedies for it. Reanimedia is actually quite good with replacements, and from postings on their forum I gather that the first print had its share of issues, but I don’t want to go there. I mostly bought the box for the goodies anyway, and DVD vibrations can easily be worked around with a visit to Boxtorrents (Bakabt).

UPDATE: The vibrations appear to be caused by the software making the drive to spin too fast. I just checked the last volume, it’s better balanced, but the motor sounds from the drive are just as bad.

UPDATE 2: Discs provide a hint about the licensing regime: they carry a logo of Geneon-Universal (with a globe and “Universal”).

ADV grabs Asu no Yoichi

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Apparently, ADV is not as dead as it seemed (via). And it was proven yet again that the all-grabbing, first-look Funimation monster is not as powerful as we were lead to believe.

Crunchyroll is showing a fansub of original Hanaukyo

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

This may not be news to anyone, but I ran across it today. Here’s a screencap, with the fansub translator’s handle:

The publishing data for ep.1 says: “Publisher: ponycanyon; Uploaded: February 11, 2007″. I cannot help wondering what the story behind this is. I imagine Pony Canyon licensed the anime to Crunchyroll and then Crunchy somehow made a deal with the subbers, e.g. hired some of them, perhaps. “Sam” is a former fansubber, for example.

BTW, there was a side-by-side comparison of the original Hanaukyo Maid Team with is La Verite remake in my old notes.

Zyl on Kampfer 10, 11

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Found two saved examples of Zyl’s masterful analysis and scintillating wit. Episode 10:

Kaede’s criticism of Natsuru is being lame is IMHO unfair. Firstly, Natsuru loves and wants Kaede so much he doesn’t see any other girl as a potential girlfriend thus the almost willful denseness. Faithfulness is not a virtue anymore? From this angle, Natsuru doesn’t realize that Shizuku is only doing what she does to him because she likes him; he, quite reasonably, sees it as her bullying him for her own amusement.

Nod. Episode 11:

The ‘ending’ reminded me a lot of the end of the first season of Asura Cryin’ – the pieces are put together and the protagonists see the whole picture for the first time. It then sets up the next season for them to act on their discoveries.

I was particularly cheered by Natsuru’s straight arrow: I love you Kaede but I won’t sacrifice my dear harem friends! What a man! (Even though, like Kaede, I much prefer Natsuru as a woman.)

The only thing I did not understand was Kaede’s plan to get male Natsuru to sleep with Shizuku – certainly that would distract Shizuku from investigating the Moderators for a while but how would that re-ignite Blue versus Red hostilities? Was Kaede then going to mind-control Natsuru into not calling Shizuku after the morning after?

Oh groan. And I think he sees too much design on the part of creators where the events probably just rolled downhill naturally.

Bloggers on Moribito

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

I cannot be bothered to do a proper round-up, but I kept a few links to read after the completion, some from 2007! There is no concern about spoilers for a story as straight as Moribito‘s, but I wanted to form my own impressions first.

Kabitzin:

I also want to mention that Seirei no Moribito had some interesting role reversals. We had the patient, easy-going Tanda as the traditional wife character, while strong, stoic Balsa was more of the husband. Heck, we even had Chagum giving birth in a rather uncomfortable scene (fortunately, they gave him a C-section). By defying stereotypes, Seirei no Moribito gave a freshness to the relationships between the characters, and these relationships really defined the series as a whole.

The spousal role reversal is not unknown in anime. Lafiel and Jinto make the most well known example, but there were also Feena and Tatsuya, etc. Moribito only combines this trick with the period piece setting.

Overall, Kabitzin liked the anime quite a lot, for all the right reasons.

Bateszi:

Like everyone else, I felt frustrated by waiting for the pace to pick up, yet I never grew tired of Seirei no Moribito.

I did not feel any frustration, but then I was throttled by Netflix (actually ViZ’s release schedule).

Hikago is the most effusive:

An endearing show involving people from all walks of life, sewn together with superb story-telling. The greatest treat is that all the characters are written with intelligence, exuding a feeling of life and presence which can be quite refreshing. Production values are consistently exceptional throughout to boot.

Indeed.


by Sixten

Yuno Crab? Not so fast.

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Kurogane became excited about the promise of “Yuno Crab” in the upcoming episode of Hoshimitsu. Sorry to disappoint, but I think it is a mistake. “ゆのクラブ” means “Yuno Club”, if anything. The translator was just thinking about crabs (kani) that Yoshinoya talked about in the previous panel and thinkoed it in, spell checker ate it.

UPDATE: I take it back. There’s an explanation in the speech balloon, and “クラブ” is a legitimate name for a crab, just not a default.

Black Rainbow on Haibane Renmei

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Another “geriatric animeblogger” of Meenuvia hatched today with a review of Haibane Renmei. He says “[…] the plot amazingly well constructed, it also has some of the best character development I’ve ever seen in any work of fiction. // Furthermore, it has a brilliant tension arc” — meaning the way the story builds to its conclusion. It was said that HR is not a good thing to watch when discovering anime, because from now on nothing will measure up to it. Here is a test case (insert the Palpatine’s quote about watching with great interest).