Archive for September, 2013

Silver Spoon season ends

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Anime of the season, easily. Back when Moyashimon aired, I wanted it to be this. Instead, we’ve got leather-clad lesbians. Not that there’s anything wrong with leather-clad lesbians, but there was nothing particularly interesting or moving about them. This, however, is real.

To be sure, the story of character growth in a rural land-grant style university lacks in dramatic, but that’s not the only thing that moves anime. By the way, my initial opinion was informed by the lack of robots, idols, or harem. I was so unenthusiastic, that I skipped the opening picture. Now I’m taking that back for a redo.

Or perhaps not entirely. The story is only halfway through and the season ends with an expectation for an extension, but we remember Sacred Blacksmith too well. Things do not always work out as expected.

Stella C3 ends

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Stella C3-bu spent the last 2 episodes unconvincingly unwinding the Yura spring that they wound up so tightly. She did not remember her desire to grow even once, instead longing for a place to belong. And the animation took a major nosedive at the end. Not quite EVA stick figures, granted, but it was impossible to ignore. Usually this sort of collapse is reserved to the shows that are abrubtly cancelled and run out of money.

So in the end Rin is the best girl in the show that Yura should have owned, Sono-chan and the crew shine, and Yura is just an inconsistent loser character flopping in the wind. I do not remember anyone blow the early promise so hard since Kamichu.

Liked: Was amused at first, but then it all fell apart.
Rewatch: No.

P.S. You know what’s the laffoest part? Stella was billed as a competitor to GaruPan when announced.

UPDATE: Jonathan Tappan mentions in comments at Chizumatic that there was, in fact, a preview for ep.13 of Stella. Apparently I let GAINAX fool me into thinking that it ended. Oh well.

UPDATE 2013/09/24: Omo disagrees.

UPDATE 2013/09/27: Nova writes:

This year’s tribute to the gun and military nerds, I expected C3-bu to showcase the fine hobby of shooting other people with toy guns, something like Garupan with cute girls battling it out with various quirky gangs and learning all about being girls and fluffy and friendship and stuff.

Kickstarting Con-Jikan

Friday, September 20th, 2013

A friend is trying to crowdfund a local anime con, I chipped in. It’s my first ever Kickstarter pledge. Very curious what comes out, if anything. Living in the flyover country, I learned to appreciate local cons in 1,000-4,000 visitor range, and learned that they differ quite a bit. The best is undoubtedly LCAD in Las Cruces, NM, ran by El Paso Anime Club from across the border in Texas. I heard it was actually better than their own convention. When professional promoters made a seed run of OtakuMex, it was… a little “sterile”, if I may borrow from Jack Baruth, who borrowed from generic autojournos. It was competently run, however, which should be a benchmark. But I would prefer Justin to shoot for LCAD. Of course, if in 10 years Con-Jikan turns into AX, I would take that as well.

UPDATE: Omo shot me a tweet referring to public data on the progress of funding (Kicktraq provides a web page for it), and apparently people suddenly funded project today, possibly even reading this post. I presume everyone who pledges means to attend, so we might want to get together for an Kickstarter Samaritan dinner. E-mail if you’re interested.

Actually what the heck, I should probably run an animeblogger panel, too. For fans, by fans!

Casshern Sins

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Once again my fabulous anime club is giving me ideas, although most showings were duds. The Galaxy Express 999 was off to a rocky start as the main character plays Golgo and kills, well, just about everyone in first two episodes. Yeah. Who knew. Tsk, tsk, Leiji Matsumoto. Of course S.B. Yamato is still awesome. Next, Avenger is perhaps WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS, if I may. It’s still better than Pretear, because animation is better. But the story is the same level of junk.

So, Casshern Sins was the best out of the bad lot. Personally, it was not up my alley, too much like Lain. Interestingly, bloggers were dropping it left and right. I think Kabitzin never finished it, you can see how his opinion soured from “quite a ride” to pondering killing Ringo. Bateszi also never posted a review, just a bunch of random episode notes (seriously, Margo, of all people?).

I can’t say I really dragged myself to the end, it’s just that the lynchpin of the story being how to deal with immortality, which did not interest me all that much. BTW, there’s no answer. All we get is that once you’re immportal, you’re screwed, so don’t. Okay.

Oh, and everyone killing everyone, almost. Not entertaining. And anyone who’s left (a small minority) die. Won’t spoil who lasts, but you figure it out. Hint: the immortals, of course. And one other individual.

Other than the above, a fine ending.

Finally, as I marathoned the series, nothing grabbed my fancy until I realized that I can’t blog without a screencap. So, I grabbed a crying Ringo. Kind of emblematic of the anime.

Liked: Meh.
Rewatch: There’s nothing in it for me.

Who are they?

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

From my last trip, I brought a NO NAME’s signle CD, which looks like this:

On the left is a pack-in bonus: a photograph of… someone. Ditto on the right. Despite studying printed material, I continue to be confused by 3D, so I cannot tell. Logically thinking, it should be Mayuyu and Karen Iwata on the cover. By an inhuman effort I started to recognize the latter somewhat, mostly thanks to her smile being a little shy, but the girl on the left looks nothing like a Mayu Watanabe… I think. As for the photo, it could be Mao Mita, who is just a tad chubby.

UPDATE: No, the material has no captions. Not the CD booklet, not the pack-in photo. The pink print on the photo is a copyright statement.

Brickmuppet on Stella 09

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

How’s this for analysis:

Yura hates her personal weaknesses which led her to such misery in the past by preventing her from having any fun. Now that she has begun to overcome her weakness she will allow nothing to hold her back from strengthening herself… least of all fun.

Bateszi on Silver Spoon 06

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

The subject of Hachiken butchering a roadkill raised a fairly predictable reaction across ani-blogo-sphere, with Bateszi probably putting up the most polished response.

I was a sheltered city boy too and man, field-dressing is nasty (fur getting everywhere for one), but I don’t understand where the angst is coming from. Not viscerally, anyway. I remember once we caught a mouse in our apartment. We lived in one of those awful concrete high-rises that Japanese call “mansion” — what a joke — but mice can get anywhere. My mother didn’t want to stomp it or let me do it, so she put it into a plastic bag and threw it out into frozen garbage heap. Oh yeaaaah, that’s way more humane — or is it? What bullshit.

You still want to isolate yourself from animal blood when butchering, however. Deer carry all sort of nasty diseases and parasites, so until it’s well cooked — no contact! Heck it’s still unknown if its prions can jump species and turn your brain into jelly, AFAIK.

Japanese may have a different view on it, which is not necessarily better informed. For example, many old people in Hokkaido think nothing of drinking from wild streams, although it’s well known that Ecchinococus is in there. When asked, they say that the parasite takes 20 years to kill a human, and they aren’t going to live that long. Yeah.

Tappan on RWBY

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Jonathan Tappan strikes at the heart of the question “what is anime”, using RWBY as an excuse (a title liked by e.g. Mr. Brickmuppet):

First I want to make it clear that I have no objection to Crunchyroll carrying American-made cartoons. Nevertheless I was disappointed to read this statement from director Monty Oum:

Some believe just like Scotch needs to be made in Scotland, an American company can’t make anime. I think that’s a narrow way of seeing it. Anime is an art form, and to say only one country can make this art is wrong. // –FEATURE: Inside Rooster Teeth’s “RWBY”

There are a number of American comic artists who want to call their work “manga” and now we have American animators who want to call their work “anime”. When they do they end up sounding sad and a bit sleazy, like a Chinese food exporter who says:

Some believe that “Whole Foods” can only refer to a particular American company. I think that’s a narrow way of seeing it. “Whole Foods” refers to any foods that are wholesome. Our fine Chinese food products are very wholesome so there is no reason that we shouldn’t label them “Whole Foods.”

This used to be a topic of great interest for us back when Sixten was an active animeblogger, but nowadays I find little to add to Jonathan’s. Also, LOL.

UPDATE 2013/09/09: CKS tries a measured approach, but ends with:

I don’t think Tappan’s call for animators to develop a style that’s different from anime and manga is really the right approach. At its core what it amounts to is telling people not to work in the style that they like and admire simply because they are not from Japan. It’s especially unlikely to work if you believe that the manga and anime style is further evolved and more artistically sophisticated and successful than the western counterparts.

UPDATE 2013/10/08: Sixten responded with an editorial and Omo responded to that. Lines remain drawn through the finer points. I can’t help thinking that Sixten’s identity as a manga artist is threatened by inauthenticity, and we cannot move forward without resolving that.

MORE UPDATE: Steven simplifies the argument to “if it’s good, it’s all good”.