Archive for April, 2014

Welcome to The Space Show

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

A local arthouse cinema was showing Welcome to The Space Show, so we went. It was an extremely kid’s movie, and an extravaganza end to end. It made the Watchkovsky brothers’ Speed Racer feel like a hardbroiled social drama.

Despite being animated by A-1, the movie didn’t look like iM@S TV. Not too much like Birdy even.

Kanon begins

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Examining my records and digging through my old fansub stash, I found that I never actually watched the 2006 Kanon, so what the heck… It promises a shortcut to all the stories, which would take too much trouble to play through.

A couple of episodes in, it matches the game pretty closely. Even uses the same BGM (excellent). I can’t wait to see how they assemble the stories together.

One really weird thing, however, is how much Yuichi reminds me of Kyon-kun. Looking at the screencaps, the visual resemblance is not all that striking, but in the anime it’s really unsettling. Obviously it’s Tomokazu Sugita’s fault.

P.S. Rifling through old posts to update the category, I found Tappan’s review. He is, of course, spot on. But after the game my outlook changed.

Kanon for iPad

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Back in 2005 or so, at Aniverse’s #anime, one of my buddies, Matt “Mashu” Kern was much into Kanon, then in Toei anime release. He made me to suffer through some 5 episodes. When the KyoAni remake came about, I gave it a try too, but it was no better.

The excuse to look into the original VN, thus, had most to do with it being original. I watched Joshiraku raw, so there’s little I cannot overcome, I thoght. I even imagined that it would be fun to pick a few new kanji along the way.

My mistake was that I forgot that it was a Key product. I chose Mai route because she seemed like the least damaged (about the same as the cousin, but this is not Louisiana). It rolled pretty smoothly until the end, when Mai confessed and immediately offed herself. Oops. It seemed making sense in the moment, but now I understand that I have no clue just what she was thinking, if anything. The epilogue was incomprehensible to me as the end of Evangelion. One key sequence (please pardon the pun) included a sick woman with her daughter… I thought it was future Sayuri.

The art in the game is period-appropriate, which is a polite way to say hideously ugly. The illustration is Mai being remembered, and it includes an eye covering a cheekbone. Anatomy of Kanon characters quickly resets the scale on arguments about deformed fingers in K-ON. If not for that, Mai’s gentle smile would’ve moved me to tears. Think Key staff did it on purpose or just could not draw worth a Pixiv artist off the street?

Still, kanji and art aside, it wasn’t a bad adventure. The best part of VN for me was that it had a solid story (in many branches), placed outside of what we now know as school romcom, where the backbone of the story is who gets whom, sprinkled by hijinks. I thought I burned out on that back before Toradora. It is funny to think that Kanon, made on the break of the century, is somehow “outside of the mold” for today, but if it didn’t exist, and someone made an anime now, it would be a very watcheable show despite being based on romance in the school setting. It’s like a great lost art. The only recipy still available to creators in 2014 is to dillute the romcom with mecha, and IS pretty much said everything in that area.

Now I am sort of wondering how many people came for the sex, and stayed for the story when the original game came out. The iPad version is neutered, but I could not put it down all the same.

Trigger discipline

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

On topic of trigger discipline, this was at Cinderella Girls today:

Tsk, tsk.

Steven also explains why he didn’t actually watch Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka thus:

“Cute girls doing cute things” isn’t a genre I really get into. Strawberry Marshmallow and Yuru Yuri kind of overdosed me. I couldn’t finish either of them, so now I don’t try.

Generally I think of myself as a conneseur of CGDCT, but I dropped and/or rejected a number of the genre titles. That includes popular and acclaimed ones like Hidamari, where faces were too wide (it was also over-SHAFT-ed). Strawberry Marshmallow featured Anna Coppola, who was absolutely insufferable, IIRC — it was very long ago, before Ani-nouto. I did not watch Yuru Yuri, but I heard that the whole show is a walking thematic concern.

In other words, Steven selected two worst CGDCT shows to decide that all of them sucked. For fairness sake, he forgot to mention that he didn’t like the definitive series, Azumanga, either. Still, as written, his reasoning looks very strange!

Weaboo Adventures in American iTunes

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Something prompted me to search at iTunes by entering Japanese keywords, such as “アイドル”, and guess what? They have a few J titles leaking over. So far I grabbed a talking clock “MoeJiFukuZ”, terrible quasi-VN “Kuudere Kanojo”, and Kanon for iPad, which comes untranslated for some reason. It has all the glorious in its derpiness Key art:

The game is completely unvoiced. In other words, a sea of kanji as far as eye can see. Uguuuu~.

BTW, it has 50 save slots. Last time I played a game with this many, I needed basically all of them. I’d love to find a playthrough, but strangely enough they are not that easy to find. You’d think it were an immortal classic and all that, but Internet is so useless these days.

P.S. I just noticed that the screencap above fails to illustrate my plight: the kanji in it are trivial: Nayuki says, “Mom, I can’t find my uniform”. Trust me, it gets worse all the time, and a bunch of those aren’t even in jojo list.

SAO vs Log Horizon

Friday, April 11th, 2014

At a meeting of my fabulous anime club, I had a chance to watch SAO and Log Horizon back to back, and frankly Log Hor wins hands down. SAO has better production values, it looks like an anime asking for HD experience. But its characters are not anyone I would like to care about. It’s odd… Kirito and Asuna seem like upstanding individuals, in the game anyway. Most bloggers zoomed in on the lead being a Marty Stu, e.g. too disgustingly perfect. Not sure if that is the main problem. The lead in Log Horizon is too good too, but his exploits seem more interesting somehow.

Mind, I came to the above conclusion before seeing how the focus of Log Horizon becomes more about improving the world, a significanly larger scope than SAO‘s.

DiGiKerot on Streaming Catalog

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Beta-Waffle:

Animax pretty much work on the opposite business model to Crunchyroll, in so much as new episodes of “simulcast” shows are available for around two weeks to everyone, and what the subscribing user is paying for access to is catalogue content. I do have to give them props for at least having some catalogue content beyond things which they have previously streamed – they have a couple of historic “heavy hitters” like Code Geass and Death Note in their back catalogue.

Actually, Crunchy has subscriber-only titles too, so they are not as opposite as they look. Most aggravatinly, the original pre-Shippuuden Naruto was like that. Currently, Hadigirl is a subscriber-only catalog title. I was mildly intrigued by it, just not enough to break my boycott of Crunchyroll subscription due to them dropping DTO-no-DRM.

Gundam Build Fighters ends

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

GBF is one of those anime that wear their soul on their sleeve. Its robust, open, fun nature makes it a great entertainment for the weary. Remember how the “chemo for pseudo-intelligenzia shows”? That wasn’t one, but this sure is.

It certainly is not without its flaws. The premise of magical particles is somewhat weakly founded, in my opinion. There’s a lot of other age-appropriate writing, too. Recall the mafia guy, for one. Or any other villain, come to think of it. All of that reminds me very much about Mouretsu Pirates, except it works here. The only thing that really grated was the character and demeanor of Chairman Matsushita. Poor, poor Baker-chan.

Liked: YES
Rewatch: Definitely possible if opportunity comes along

P.S. What is the place of GBF in the Gundam family? I feel that I cannot tell properly, not being a well-immersed fan of the franchise. Certainly it succeeds as an anime, but does it succeed as a Gundam series? We need to ask someone who knows whom Baker was cosplaying in the flashback of her meeting with Matsushita.

P.P.S. I wanted to post the popular “A > B > C”, but on second thought, it seems wrong. Everyone is so great, I love them all, even bossy and self-centered Caroline. Kirara (Mihoshi) is probably the best, with her never-give-up nature. I just hope Fellini measures up. Aira atoned for Aina (possibly by design), Ranko is too noble for the obvious 4-letter acronym. And gosh, that Ral. I’ve not seen such epitome of Gundam manliness since Norris.

UPDATE: Twitter killed animeblogging:

Thanks guys!

Also! I asked our local expert:

<zaitcev> Just wanted to ask what “The Blue Giant” refers.
<Guncannon> Ramba Ral
<Guncannon> 0079 Zeon ace

So that’s why he’s “absurdly strong”. And this:

Apparently it refers to Sayla Mass in the original Mobile Suit Gundam.

Avatar on Zvezda

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Andy sent a comment:

Honestly, the real problem for me is that they never really built the world they were busy trying to conquer. Warring prefectures? Governor of Tokyo has legions of minions borrowed from Jin-Roh? Is it Udo that put the Udo in Udogawa? Who the heck knows.

It’s not like the formula hasn’t been tried before, but Excel Saga wasn’t ever meant to be taken seriously, so to a degree none of it mattered. And I can live with Zvezda itself being a bundle of “who cares if it makes sense, Rule of Cool is in effect”. But that only works if it’s an exception, the world around it either has to make sense on its own, or be playing by the same Rule-of-Cool rules. And for a lot of the story, it just didn’t do either.

Personally, I’m ready to forgive the incomplete world to them. After all, Glie is similarly incomplete, with the difference being in Zvezda pretending that it’s our world, only slightly adjusted.

That said, I still enjoyed it plenty. I want to put on a trenchcoat and skull mask and dual-wield Panzerfausts as melee weapons!

Talk about the art of manliness. However, I’m not ready to forgive the good General his criminal past.

iM@S Cinderella Girls anime announced

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Remember the “preview of nothing”? It was actually a preview of new anime series, as revealed today. Which means Rin and Anya are in.

When I came back from putting 6 hours on Hobbs and checked how my pokegirl cards are doing, and the announcement came up, I reacted with a disbelief. But on second thought, consider all the content they were publishing. For example, they made a mini-game availabe for one day only (since I play every day, I got to enjoy it):

Someone was paid to make it happen: design the game (it sits on an unrelated engine from normal Cinderella Girls), draw the art, program the servers, test with supported clients, run the ops — for a day. This means the game makes money to support this sort of extravagance, even beyond the cute in-game comics and all the CD-making machinery. Perhaps it’s a little wonder that there was something in that pot of gold to finance a whole anime series. I guess I was only surprised because despite being a de-facto enthusiast, I kept thinking about Cinderella Girls as a small trinklet for casual players who are too weak for the flagship games. But we are legion.