Archive for July, 2014

The death of yosakoi, jazz, and anime

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

I wanted to find out if naruko are going to become as popular as Les Paul guitars, but what I found was different. The cold data of Google spells the doom:

Basically yosakoi peaked about the same time anime peaked, and was in decline ever since… The peaks at June of each year must coincide with the festival.

BTW, Hanayamata is not as good as I hoped. No surprise it’s not moving the needle.

Anime Viking on Daisuki

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

This is what happens when you extensively research propaganda and PR declarations by corporate suits and then take them on face value (in particular Shibata’a promises of not strong-arming Crunchy):

In other words, Daisuki was meant as a complement to the already existing anime streaming websites. The purpose was not to remove series from other platforms or trying to gain exclusive users.

And that’s after he quotes “DAISUKI is a new service created by real anime companies that have continued to create Japanese anime.”

I think it was plain as day that the main goal of Daisuki was to crush Crunchyroll, remove the middleman, and reap the harvest of profits in the interest of Japanese anime incumbents such as Toei, Kadokawa, and Aniplex. It is true that they did not pull licenses, but they simulcasted Zvezda that was shown at Crunchy with a week’s delay for free users.

My personal experience with Daisuki was rather positive, by comparison at least. American TV incumbent, Hulu, was quite terrible in not having a tablet-compatible client (they have one for their paid offering Hulu+ only) and badly overloading with ads. Daisuki worked well on iPad and its ads were sensible. But most importantly, I was finally able to watch 35 episodes of DBZ, the entire first arc, after years and years of aborted attempts with FUNi and Hulu (that was a horrifying experience that I left off Ani-nouto as a service to readers). In addition, Zvezda. I would not mind switching, it’s just that Crunchy is way ahead in the selection.

In the end, Daisuki’s narrow library is truly puzzling. Perhaps it’s going to get padded over time.

UPDATE: These doofuses still don’t have an app in Google Play. They have one in iTunes.

Avatar e-mailed me with a somewhat longish expose of the ways Japanese in effect undermine themselves when dealing with international markets, which comes down to this:

So it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Daisuki had some of the same problems — being managed by people for whom Daisuki’s success is not particularly important and who have their own parochial concerns that get in the way.

The web presence they built is very slick. The store looks nice. But there’s too little in it. It would make no sense for them to have trouble acquiring titles, being born from the flesh of Aniplex, and yet…

Locodol begins

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Here goes the low-pressure watch of the season. I’ll just note one strange thing: the protagonist’s partner, Yukari, is presented as 1) a second edition Tsumugi Kotobuki (beautiful, rich, lesbian), and 2) astonishingly capable idol. On paper it’s a recipy for Mary Sue debacle, but in practice it’s just right for the series she’s in. I suppose it’s a matter of expectations for the show. Unfortunately, stupid creators dialed her down by ep.4.

Suzuka fails

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

To follow-up on the sports theme, I sampled Suzuka on Hulu, and what a dire show that was.

The creators take the conventional stereotypes, but present them in most inept way possible. Everything that happens is annoyingly unnatural, acted out.

On the other hand, Evirus tweets again: “Ginban Kaleidoscope is surprisingly good, but I’m not sure it’s an ideal example of “sport anime.”” Well, then! Canadian ghost in my body it is!

Evirus on Sabagebu

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

As tweeted:

You can tell Sabagebu is shoujo instead of a cute-girls-doing-cute-things show because all the girls are being total cunts to each other.

Having seen Kimi ni Todoke, I give him both +3, Funny and +3, Insightful.

For a more conventional take, see RABUJOI.

The quest for good sports anime

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

An off-hand comment by Nova how he boycotts sports anime reminded me about this: I had pretty poor record with it. Not that I boycott it strictly like Nova, but I never was enthusiastic about it and neglected the genre. It is high time for the neglect to be rectified. The recent failure of Yowamushi Pedal did nothing to dissuade me. However, identifying worthy candidates is a challenge. I heard good things about Ookiku Furikabutte, but it’s associated with thematic concerns. One-outs was nasty, dropped after some 4 or 5 episodes. The otherwise most excellent Chihayafuru failed on characters. I wish Attack Number One was easily available, but I don’t think it saw an R1 release. Besides, honestly, I prefer the break of the century anime to moldy classics. Currently I’m pinning sports hopes on Suzuka.

BTW, I already received the suggestion of Ginban Kaleidoscope from Nova’s trollolo co-blogger, JTFish (quoted in full from ANN because this):

Plot Summary: 16-year old Sakurano Tazusa is a Japanese figure ice-skater who considers herself to be worth $10 billion in beauty. While executing her moves in the Women’s Figure Skating Grand Prix, she stumbled and landed badly, hence resulting in her loss in the competition. At the same time, in the same city, a Canadian youth by the name of Pete Pumps was performing an air stunt when his plane crashes and he dies. Tazusa starts to hear a strange voices and realises that the Canadian ghost now resides in her body. After futile attempts to get rid of Pete, Tazusa decides to get accustomed to his presence and in the meantime, improve on her techniques in order to get selected for the Olympics.

Thanks, man. I know we can count on you.

Hadigirl minus

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

I ran through all 10 available episodes, and a thought occured to me: why bother with all the somewhat slightly animated manga thing? Just scan manga, and have the cast read it aloud, voila.

Alas, it’s not so simple. Manga has speech balloons, which this quasi-animated manga thing does not. It does have balloon-less floating remarks, but that’s a very different look. Therefore, an existing manga has to be re-drawn. It is still cheaper than animating, I am sure, but not as straightforward. In addition, resolution of manga page allows for different forms, and many mangas have oddly shaped frames. Still, this seems like a viable art form. Maybe when Hiyao’s son succeeds in using computers to destroy anime, we could still have this.

Evirus on Chaika

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

In a season’s summary:

Thankfully, Chaika succeeds wonderfully in its execution. The fights are consistently good, and the characters endearing enough to draw the viewer’s sympathy. One standout in particular, Fredrica, can attribute her character’s draw almost entirely to the way her veteran seiyuu plays her. Saito Chiwa exudes a perfect combination of bored petulance and trigger-happy glee as Fredrica, and hits all her marks while demonstrating how important timing is to comedy.

I’m extraordinarily pleased a second cour of Hitsugi no Chaika will begin this autumn. It’s been a lot of fun to watch, so I’m glad it will be back.

Extraordinarily, dawg.

BTW, I watched 3 episodes, but Chaika did not pull me in, and since I knew that it was incomplete (h/t RABUJOI), I had it postponed without blogging.

Kawai-sou ends

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

And so, marathoned in 3 days, it ends so quickly: a series that I seriously meant to suspend in the beginning. Notes that I penciled at ep.1 dripped with scorn, like in “so, it’s a story of yet another fine young man thinking with his penis”. Suffering of poor Shiratori left me too deeply suspicious of this re-take.

Unfortunately, due to certain circumstances, I cannot engage into explanations what made the anime for me. Here’s a few unrelated observations, however.

Although I think the size was matching the pace, I had a recurring feeling that something was omitted. For example, in ep.7, Usa’s classmate comes to the complex to meet Mayumi, and… absolutely nothing happens. It looks as if parts were edited out. In the same time, they had a ton of filler, such as the whole neighbourhood loli thing.

There was a strange refrigeratior moment, in the finale. How does Mayumi know what Maemura said? Only Usa and Ritsu heard it said, I just don’t see either of them relating it.

So, despite the compact size, writing wasn’t at Haibane Renmei level.

The art, however, was outstanding. Creators have gone bananas at the eyes, in particular. And it’s not just my opinion (as @andrea_chii twittered, “one of the best parts of the show for me honestly lol”). The series may merit a Visual Retrospective post later.

Liked: Yes
Rewatch: Possible

GochiUsa ends

Monday, July 14th, 2014

It was all right, but overdone at times. Perhaps even way overdone, and at many times. I had to resort to fast-forward.

On the upside, nobody was as annoying as characters of Ichigo Mashimaro, and so I managed to finish the series. And then of course Rize is #1. Although, personally, I liked Aoyama-sensei the most, even so. How does it work.

Art and animation were pretty, and somehow in keeping with the nature of the setting. Lots of primary colors.

Liked: It’s a net win
Rewatch: No