Archive for February, 2013

Katanagatari begins

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Holy mackerel… Observing the principle never to commit to expensive DVDs without sampling the series at least, I had to resort to watching an episode on one of those shitty pirate sites – since NISA do not provide any. And I’m afraid Don may even be mild in this praise.

C’est unbelievable

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

For some reason (blame Evirus), I ended re-reading The Manual, which was updated, and it reported that a French designer for AKB0048 posted his concept art at a random Forum. Those French and their simple life. It reminded me how another French dude posted pictures of Soyuz-2.1v roll-out, including the truck-bazed lift, etc. Man, the Russian government was miffed good about that. But the pics are still there, somewhere.

BTW, since we’re on the topic. #1 Evirus ended S1 with “I never did start caring about any of its characters [… but] have no issues with the concept or content as a matter of principle”. #2 I do not follow the new season, but I read Fencedude’s spoilers and the like, and preparing to savour it at a later date.

GA manga v4

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

I picked the 4th volume of GA manga yesterday. It is as pleasant as always. But here’s one funny thing with the translation:

Why is Sasamoto-sensei “he”? This is not a typo, there’s a referral like that on the next page too. Either the translator is very confused, or Sasamoto is a giant trap canonically. Translation is credited to “Kaori Inoue”.

UPDATE: Steven observes another example, but it’s a little different. First, it’s a fansub, and second, it’s not pervasive. This one is not a typo, because it’s pervasive through the volume. I checked with v.2, where “she” was used, and the credited translator is different: “Tomo Kimura”. I suspect at this point that “Kaori Inoue” was confused and nobody at Yen Press does QA of manga.

Non Non Biyori anime announced

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

According to John, my eye for quality strikes again.

P.S. The cover scan in John’s post contains the official English title, and it’s “Non Non Biyori”.

Secret Santa 2012

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

The master page at Reverse Thieves contains links to a number of interesting reviews for the 2012 Secret Santa. Few are going to agree with me, but I appreciate how by and large authors put some effort into the job.

Krizzlybear, GA:GADC:

Noda … often finds herself lacking in talent

Excuse me, what is this you are smoking?

That aside, he or she liked the surrealism episode in particular. It was great, but was it the greatest? Although I rate GA much higher than Hidamari, Yunocci’s delirium in S1.05 was quite on par with Kisaragi’s, maybe even better. Generally, the review is not complimentary enough, unlike own notes.

Vincenzo Averello, Sunred:

What makes this show so enjoyable, you might ask well it tends to be that the main character is a total jerk to the villains, who by and large are decent hard-working individuals who happen to look like the monsters your standard sentai hero would fight, be that squid-monster, ancient mummy, or blue-wolf creature.

Seriously, the role {sub-|in-}version is the main highlight? Is this really what you think? Not even Kayoko? BTW, I found Sunred’s bullying repulsive, overall. It becomes downright disgusting S2.05 when he steals Vamp’s bicycle (yes, yes, I know about the finale’s epiphany).

Now sadly there is a major downside to this show, the animation.

Having fallen into the same trap, this is something I can forgive.

Evan, RahXephon:

There are, of course, a few differences; for one, Ayato is not a chronically depressed loser like Shinji Ikari in Evangelion, …

That was the point at which I knew that I could live with that review.

It makes a note of designs; coincidentially the discs contain an interview with the designer.

Overall, fairly entertaining, professional, but hamstrung by the lack of time. Not “phoned in”, mind. But rushed. And of course the attempts to second-guess Izubuchi (“desperate need to be Evangelion”) form the mold that the review cannot escape. See how I second-guess him as rushing for the Secret Santa deadline, not letting himself to give Rax the thought it needed. Problem?

Interestingly enough, the reset ending is apparently okay by Evan. Hehe.

Mike Ferreira, Haibane Renmei:

To say Haibane Renmei is a masterpiece would be selling the series short. It is, without a doubt, one of the most incredible animated titles this reviewer had the pleasure of watching.

Mike is known at Ani-nouto as a jaded reviewer, so I was a little apprehensive. But he can know the greatest anime of all time when Secret Santa smacks him in the face with it, that much is proven now. “Difficult issues are given clarity through a combination of brilliant imagery and thoughtful dialogue” works as a capsule, too.

Foomafoo, The 08th MS Team:

I wasn’t happy that there wasn’t a proper epilogue for all the characters. “And then the war ended” That was terrible dialogue I have to hear from this series.

Oh. My. God. Someone gave him the series without The Episode That Does Not Exist? This is just super awesome. But beyond the “lol trolled” part, I think the review does not explain why The 08th is the best military classic this side of Banner of The Stars, which is a pity. Also, he’s not on the “AINA SUCKS” bandwagon.

Ray, Patlabor:

When industry becomes central to society, corporations need to be untouchable in order to maintain the quality of life that is being built.

Not the worst angle, don’t you think? At least he’s not found something deeply raaaaaacist.

Intermediate Otaku, The Idolm@ster TV:

This means that this review is not just my first Secret Santa, but also my first ever review on this blog.

Okay, go on, my body is lady.

BTW, I’m not one to keep with the idea how the background is oh-so-essential, e.g. only true otaku can enjoy Lucky Star and whatnot. But here, the biggest sense of the opening scene in IM@S TV is how you see Haruka riding her bicycle and know instantaneously that everything will be all right. This is something I.O. just cannot possibly sense… Or can he? In any case he didn’t mention it. Not that it’s a fault with the review, just a backgrounder.

From this point the show is very easy to summarize. You basically follow these idols and get at least an episode dedicated to each of them to basically try to emotionally connect you to them as they rise towards stardom.

Very basically, indeed. Fortunately, the retelling nature of the review brings us eventually to the meat of the series later.

This part of the show, with their debut of this unit on TV in episode 6, marked my turning point for the show. Up until that point, I found the show not just boring, but in a way, incredibly depressing, seeing these teenage girls just come into work and sort of just wait for a chance at fame. It was really eating away at me. With Ryuuguu Komachi’s debut though, the tone of the show entirely changed for me, and I liked every episode after that.

Wow. As an aside, I did not even pay any attention to RK in the 06 entry.

This arc had the scene that hit me the most in the series, which is when we see Haruka Amami, the normal one, visit Chihaya’s house for the first time […]

You know, the things that earnest reviews can do accidentally are just this amazing.

Generally, the simple tone and common sense, yet insightful, observations is what makes this review. I am talking about the discussion of A-1’s animation style and habits, mainly, not so much the conventional, even dogmatic, rejection of idols. Still, thanks to some idol group in Mouretsu OP, not all is lost here as well.

QUICK UPDATE: THAT reviewed IM@S too.

Sequel to Katanagatari is coming

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Katanagatari was on my list since Don’s effective advocacy, and I came to think of it as a complete story. Now a preview chart (via) slates a sequel. Instinctively, I bump it down a few notches, because look: do Azumanga or Haibane Renmei even need sequels?

This is not to say that the new series is going to suck, objectively speaking. Look at J2, that one didn’t despite the difficulties of retconning. The question is in the value of the original. Again, it’s probably not at the objective level “sucks”. All sorts of good series were extended in questionable ways. Just watch the original is the recipy for them. But empirically, truly great series are never extended.

Again, there’s no law of physics why that is saw. Katanagatari may be the first to break the mold. But the odds are overwhelmingly against it and the probable thing to suspect is that it never was as good as Don claimed.

UPDATE: Reader Citrus e-mails:

The Katanagatari in the preview chart is a rebroadcast, not a sequel.

What a relief!

Loot

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

It was a while since I bought obsolete physical media, but I think this was worth it. I’m going to rewatch it in glorious low-def now!

Funny how FUNi choose their licenses by rummaging in a dark bin and mostly fetching drek. But once in a blue moon they win big.

Thomas M. Kreutzer, the witness

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

In an unlikely coincidence one Thomas Kreutzer wrote for the TTAC today:

Given the natural perfectionist bent of the average Japanese construction worker and the sweetheart deals the Japanese government often makes with local construction and paving companies, you can only imagine those roads; they go places and do things that no road ever should. Isolated ribbons of silky smooth pavement punch through mountains in a gross display of Japanese tunneling prowess.

This explains everything! But wait!

The Japanese anime series “Initial D” gives a pretty good view of the Japanese street racing scene back then. Local heroes in small highly modified cars gathered along the route wherever the road widened just enough to park. // It was there that the vast majority of cars would gather, their hoods open, while sullen young men in black t-shirts bearing nonsensical English phrases shuffled about or stood in small groups, their hands in their pockets and cheap bad smelling cigarettes hanging from their bottom lips. These were the “hashiriya” or runners […]

Occasionally I would see an accident but they were always minor. The big crashes happened in the dead of night, long after the lightweights like myself had gone home.

Wow.

UPDATE:

[…] One of my students got a little too far over one time and tore the front wheel completely off his car. I thought it was just a dumb accident until I saw Initial D years later, now I know what he was thinking…

Stahp, Namco, stahp. Please, stahp.

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

When the player completes an “area of work” in Idolm@ster Cinderedlla Girls, he faces a 1:1 Live Battle. It differs from the normal Live Battle in that opposing idols are not part of the team, and that there’s no choice of the opponent. Player’s Leader is always engaged as well.

Last time I finished an area, I fought the new girl, Anastasia. She’s a half, her father is Russian. For some reason she features so-called “ash blonde” hair, which is exceedingly uncommon in Russians. My high school crush had a hair like that and it was amazing. I highly doubt that a half would carry it, the gene is clearly recessive, but hey… It’s Japan. Frisa of J2 had a light gray hair as well (Sanya of SW was given an anime-style color, albeit in the same palette).

Anyway, before the battle there’s a bit of an animation, where idols are given a chance for a put-down slogan or other comment. Usually they go for “my victory is but assured”, or “listen to my shining song”. Now, look at the screencap above. What do you think Anastasia is saying? It’s “kak vas zovut”, spelled in katakana, which is a rather polite form of “what is your name”. Unbelievable. The whole thing smacks me as ridiculously stupid, incoherent. What were they thinking?!

UPDATE: Ana-sempai wrote:

Anyway, it seems like the “ash-blonde” color is very much a Japan stereotype for Russians. Another example is Tiger & Bunny (the shows I watch…) has two guys that are supposed to be Russian, Ivan and Yuri, and both are basically white-haired pretty boys with that sort of hair. And, scraping the bottom of the barrel, Hetalia’s “Russia” representation is also in that color; you can see it especially well if you compare him to the normal blondes and the more grey-color Prussia.

Ani-nouto the next stage

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Every time something amazing arrives out of nowhere, like a meteor, I ask: what else have been I missing all this time? The last meteor was made in 1998!

I must admit that recently I began to feel as if anime had nothing to show me anymore, it’s all this high school crap over and over again, only more sexploited than before. But I was wrong. I believe that it is out there. But how to find it? I don’t want to sit passively and wait for the next meteor.

It’s a bit frustrating that animebloggers, fueled by the streaming and fansubs, focus so much on the current season. Sure, there are some token efforts, like “secret santa“, but that’s nowhere near enough.