Archive for October, 2013

Non-Non-Biyori begins and it is not very good

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

I’m going to reserve the judgement on the anime as a whole, primarily because I’m a victim of “poisoned by manga” syndrome. But to pick on one most unpleasant lapse, my favourite segment of visiting the candy store was butchered. In the manga, the pacing and fidelity were excellent. It was easy to believe it happening. In the anime, it did not work so well.

To start, Hotaru’s fascination with Komari-semai’s cuteness was not as well established. In the manga, Komari was given the natural cute that blossomed gradually. In the anime, they moved the segment way ahead into the 2nd episode, therefore having to explain the setting instead of showing it to us. Komari did not have enough screen time and did not behave in any “cute” way. She was a complete a non-entity until the sudden revelations.

The episode itself seemed clumsily made, too. In manga, Hotaru (perhaps accidentally) hit just the right note with her attire which projected the adult as imagined by a middle-schooler. In anime, they re-dressed her way down into something that an real-life adult would wear. I do not think Komari would fall for it in character so easily.

I’m not a big judge of comedy, but something was even off in the comedic timing, so that the 10-man note lost a lot of its power. The shock was demonstrated to us with Komari’s reactions instead of being felt directly. I am willing to cut them slack on that. Adding or removing half a second of screen time would improve it a lot, perhaps, and it’s tough to accomplish. But this definitely was something the director has a duty to control.

The only moment that worked, I think, was when Komari was wondering how she went along despite having expressed her reservations about strangers. Let us give the creators 15% of success for it. The score is not the second coming of Azumanga.

UPDATE: Peter S. calls the candy store trip “a less-successful part”, which “wasn’t very funny”.

Evirus on Silver Spoon

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

In season’s review:

Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon) was easily the best summer 2013 series that I watched. It was consistently entertaining and I was impressed with how Hachiken’s character developed over the show’s 11 episodes. Even the quandary with “Pork Bowl” ended up much better than I expected. That was the plot point I had the most reservations about, but I’m quite pleased with how Silver Spoon resolved it.

WataMote ends

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

In the end, the protagonist is a bad person, and that is a problem that needs to be fixed before the communication and social adjustment.

The few final episodes tried to ground the charge of the nasty after 08 (with Kii-chan, lies about boyfriends and cheating against little kids). The creators leaned heavily on Tomoko’s wholesome fantasies, such as going to an amusement park with friends and having club activities. They omitted the episode of Tomoko sabotaging his younger brother’s school choice, too. But the damage was already done.

Liked: Somewhat
Rewatch: No

P.S. Check out WAH’s review. Leaving aside his self-identification with “us” “`special’ otaku”, he’s got the gist of it.

P.P.S. The parent manga abandoned the development thread and around ch.44 milks the re-union with the “frenemy” from the side manga.

The authenticity of non-Japanese manga, by Sixten

Monday, October 7th, 2013

[Reader’s mail delivered an op-ed by none other than Sixten himself — Author]

This is a response to your post where you quote someone who doesn’t think the term “manga” should be used to refer to comics that don’t come from Japan.

Who made that decision anyway?

Not the Japanese, I can tell you that.

To Pixiv and the Japanese people who populate it, the comics of House of Sixten may be American, but they are also manga. (Try uploading a comic to Pixiv – not only do you go through the “submit manga” dialog, but your submission automatically gets the “manga” tag.)

How does Japanese Magic the Gathering player Rattie refer to “Lotus Cobra is Evil”? As “manga”.  What did Enix comic fan site operator Takahiro (@kenkyukan on twitter, unfortunately I didn’t preserve the tweet) call “Fairy Ring”? “Manga”.  What tag did Japanese illustrator Waribashi-P use when bookmarking “Autumn Children”? Why, “manga”.

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives out an International Manga Award to outstanding Japanese-style comics from outside Japan. One of the award winners is Canadian Dan Kim, who calls his work “manga” with few people questioning his terminology. Such an award would not exist unless the Japanese thought manga could be created by people outside Japan.

My background as a former religious person, an immigrant, a card gamer, and an American conspires to create comics with a different flavor than anything made in Japan. But that doesn’t stop anyone (even yourself) from referring to my work as manga. I’m not even half as good of an artist as the winners of the International Manga Award. If I can achieve a level of authenticity and the approval of Establish Nechoes, what more can be achieved by artists that aren’t no-talent hacks like me?

People who want the term “manga” to be used only for comics from Japan are like the French who use the term “champagne” only for sparkling wine that comes from a specific region of France. They want the term to be a trademark, a guarantee of a certain level of quality. But unlike the French, the Japanese didn’t make an effort to restrict the use of the term. So why then would people outside Japan want such restrictions?

It is unfortunate that there are bad manga from outside Japan that hurt the reputation of the good manga that come directly from Japan. It is also unfortunate that sleazy creators label their work “manga” to trick buyers who expect the level of quality that they know from Japanese manga.

But saying that artists from outside Japan cannot create manga shows a lack of faith in those artists and a lack of faith in manga as a global art form.

Apropos Cassharn

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Very coincidentially to us watching Casshern Sins, Ledford licenses the original and Raymond Herrera’s summary of it adds a whole lot of sense to the remake:

“Casshan” follows the adventures of Tetsuya Azuma, the son of the scientist responsible for creating Buraiking, an android that turns the robots of Earth against their human creators. Tetsuya transfers his consciousness into an android body to become the robot warrior Casshan, and alongside his robot dog Flender and the wielder of the most robot-lethal gun in the world, Luna Uetsuki, he begins a journey to clear his father’s name, avenge his mother’s death and save the planet from Buraiking.

Why, it’s quite like reading the original sci-fi classic Stalker and watching the movie. The legend says that Tarkovsky sent the Strugatsky brothers to redo the script a few times, until they cried in exhasperation: “you do not seem to want any of the sci-fi!” and Tarkovsky replied: “exactly!”. They rewrote it one last time without the sci-fi elements and the rest is history.

The point I’m trying to make is that the remake of Casshan is not as removed from the original as Xenoglossia is removed from Idolm@ster. It generally follows the same pattern, but refocuses the whole story. Just to reveal one example, Luna does not need any gun, even an ultimate one. Her blood (nanomachine solution) kills or heals as if she were a god.