Archive for the 'nodame' Category

What I was forced to watch… #2

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

I don’t know if I’m going to make this a regular feature, and in any case I don’t expect to outdo J.P.’s famous column. Still, the situation looks suspiciously similar: I am made to watch things I would otherwise miss, and I love it. After the horrors of the last week (Black Cat is horror — in more ways than one), my clubmates fed me Lucky Star OVA, Fumoffu, and Nodame Cantabile, as well as revisiting Gurren-Lagann and Sketchbook.

Not much is there to say about the extra-long OVA, just visit Random Curiosity. Nodame was a surprise, however.

I always was a little miffed about the term “romcom” (“Romantic Comedy”). In most cases, it has the romantic part, but very little comedy (e.g. ef, unless you laugh when a girl dinks her cellphone in a nervous breakdown). In Nodame, it’s comedy all the way, and a strong comedy it is. Honestly, after seeing the first episode I was certain they would not be able to keep it up. Then I saw two, and again it seems inconveivable for it to stay that good, but this time I’m ready to be pleasantly surprised. And I like the look of the show too. Animated in Japan, baby.

On the other hand, Fumoffu was a total loss, just as I thought. Slapstick all the way. Others liked it, I think.

Of the rewatches, Sketchbook was even more iyashikei than I remembered it. It’s not unbearable, but not exciting either. If it were the last show, I’d bug off. But Gurren-Lagann was last. Rewaching a strong show was in some ways a usual experience (saw more than before), and in some ways not: I had an entirely different appreciation for some people, for example Kinon.

Nodame is good 05-07

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Nodame Cantabile was a bad mistake on my part. The premise seemed completely uninteresting to me and I tuned out all the blogging about it. But in the event, it offers extremely entertaining character comedy. Especially Milch is an enigma and an amalgam of ordinarily incompatible traits. But everyone else is gold too. I melted when Mine winked at Chiyaki in ep.07, and the latter returned his O.K.

To reiterate, my acceptance of Nodame suffered from an excellent direction of rather dubious material: the arrangement which was impossible to appreciate without watching the anime. I would never believe any blogger, no matter what superlatives they used, if they described the little Gekigangar 3 inside Nodame. In any normal anime, the space candy would have fallen flat. Even now I do not understand exactly how Kenichi Kasai sneaked past my cynicism. I knew that it was corny when I watched it, and yet… it worked.

The art and animation are excellent, although it’s not apparent in most screencaps. Also, here’s one shot of Noda which looked strangely familiar:

It took me 30 second of intense concentration to recognize Kimikiss, only with eyes placed at normal distance. One look at ANN confirmed that both director and art director (Shichiro Kobayashi) were the same. I guess I’ll have to give Kimikiss a second chance.

The trust in bloggers

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

The inability of bloggers to break through my filters can be turned around: let’s ask, who could do what to make me notice Nodame?

DiGiKerot might’ve done it, but he was poisoned by manga of Nodame, so he did not watch and did not blog it. Well, I’m still not watching Geyass, but I reclassified its rejection from “idiocy” to “bandwidth” in part thanks to Sayoko the Combat Maid.

Daniel draws no comics, but he could’ve posted an analytical article… if he watched it.

Martin is about the same, but he’s too polite to weak shows, like Allison and Lillia. He’d need very strong expressions for Nodame.

Unlike the above, Lawson watched and reviewed Nodame, but unfortunately he framed his review in the terms of personal experience which reinforced the stereotype of Nodame which I considered negative: the classical music part. It was like saying that Princess Tutu was about ballet! He’s more concise and skillful with his praise of anime in general, but chose not to apply in this case.

SDB has all the tools (and my trust), and I think he could expose the story and character interactions (see Strike Witches, Divergence Eve), but alas… the show isn’t licensed in R1.

I can go on, but the picture is that I did not see anyone with enough trust values to argue Nodame’s case. This is unfortunate. The only reason Sekirei went through was a very poor Summer season when I ran out of things to watch after dropping Nopants Witches. For me to discover Sekirei, tender Nogizaka, sedate Allison, amazing ZKC, stumbling Hidamari x365 all had to fail first. It would not happen in a normal season, and Nodame had zero chance for the eyeball time (by comparison, Honey and Clover is still grasping onto the tail of my queue). One has to wonder what else besides Nodame and Sekirei is lurking out there.

UPDATE ON TERMS: I see that I confused Owen. The word “trust” is overloaded (as operators in some languages are) and in this case I meant the numeric trust or a trust metric. There’s a useful, if long, video of lecture that includes the introduction into numeric trust which I think many bloggers would do well to watch and internalize (and I think I’m in it somewhere momentarily).

Where Geass leads Nodame follows

Friday, October 17th, 2008

After the revolutionary1 deal of brazen product placement in Geass, few people even mentioned the logo of Yamaha in Nodame.

I imagine it makes the licensing more difficult, although it did not stop Geass from being imported.

UPDATE: Look at an excellent example at Karmaburn: Haagen-Dazs in Kara no Kyokai.

1. Check out how Jason Miao was surprised, for instance.

Nodame Cantabile ends

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Nodame stayed good throughout, and there’s very little I can add to the original “it puts the com back into romcom”, although the show is certainly is more than just that. In the end it was “come for com, stay for direction”.

Characters were quite appealing. I especially liked the two hapless love rejects, Saiko and Kuroki. Milch deserves a special mention for taking the Kimura-sensei’s archetype of a two-faced teacher and running with it strongly. The way Milch unfolded, it defied belief at every turn. For the longest time I tried to pigeon-hole him and determine if he’s putting Chiyaki through his paces JUST AS KEIKAKU, or being a natural born asshole. Kamina was more straightforward and easier to assimilate.

By the way, I don’t expect to watch the Paris extension. Curiously enough, the original Nodame has a clear break at the ep.13 and could have conceivably ended there. So it looks like the creators were getting ready to wrap it up, but were given a green light for another season. And then another. I find this kind of thing annoying, especially seeing how Itakiss packed 10 years of manga into two seasons worth of show.

Liked: Oh yes
Rewatch: Very likely

Moe attack while watching Nodame

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Although I generally avoid it, I slipped the m-word into the previous post, because… what else is to be used? It is accurate in context.

And now I’m going to do it again, because for Saiko to reveal her rage in singing was too moe for words. Chihiro Shindo? Nice diary, little girl. Nia? Cute eyes, princess.

Nodame was where I felt the moe.

Nodame Cantabile notebook

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

[This, obviously, has to spoil. But you knew that Chiaki and Noda had to get together in the end, right? They are in the OP after all!]

The OP was quite good, despite the 3D instruments.

The exclamation catalog [being updated, keep suggestions coming]:

  • bokyaa
  • gyabuu (?), gyabuun (scored)
  • gyahou (given rice in Uraken)
  • gyapi (excited over lunch)
  • hoge (called by Nina Lutz)
  • hogya (surprise at the need to play concerto properly)
  • muki(iii)
  • mugyaa (frustrated)
  • mukyaa (shocked by violins / Chiyaki w/women / glad to remember)
  • pugya (snatching pantsu)
  • ukyu, Milch? (mild surpise)
  • ukyuru… (unhappy)

There’s a lot of pan-over-still, especially when Chiyaki conducts. I think he was only animated in ep.9 for half a second, and ep.22 for a second or two. There was also a rare animation when Chiyaki watched young Milch to conduct, which they just could not made still since it was a movie-within-anime. The lack of animation was skillfuly covered, but over time it gets annoying. Ep.11 had a ton of such filler in particular.

When Kiyora met Chiyaki at the Lutz’s festival, I was a bit concerned briefly… As Saiko keenly observed in restroom once, he’s weak against the beauty of talent. But given the premise of the story there is nothing to worry about.

BTW, Kiyora is the given name, Miki is the family name, I kid you not — the confusion unseen since Yashima Sanae of Hanaukyo fame.

I just cannot believe that J.C.Staff missed the opportunity to refer Excel Saga with “the society to save Kuroki . . . FAILED”. It was their own show!

I cannot understand why Kiyora, Kuroki, and Kikuchi ended with such wildly different results at the competitions in ep.17. It was perfectly explained, but what was the meaning of the difference in the story terms? It looks like the result was the same for all three.

Again in ep.17, I think Nodame asked the advice about carp which she was holding. If so, it’s the oldest, hoariest, clicheest pun in the book. It was played to perfection though, as many things in Nodame. I need to rewatch to make sure.

Harisen’s wife Kaori recognizes Shubert. All characters in this anime are inbred musicians (except the parents).

Nodame knows Yuuto from some school, I cannot remember what. Need to rewatch… unless it’s something they picked from manga by mistake and forgot to explain. Kind of like the Akane’s flashback to the skating rink in Ranma S.1.

In ep.22 Mine uses “gyaboo”, and according to the master catalog he uses it wrong. It’s not the cry for desperation.

A sinister rabbit lays in ambush on top of the compact piano.

In ep.23, the Dragon Half ED.

Words:

seishiki: chief conductor
fukishiki: assistant conductor
hibitsukai: snake charmer
sodennoshita: kickback
mihanomono: groupies (?! ep.10)
なぜ目を逸らす【そらす】: why do you avert your eyes?
こだま: echo
ほうび: present of recognition, reward

Trouble in Paris

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

I wasn’t going to see the Paris extension of Nodame (“Paris-ben”), but a picture at the official website had Kuroki in it, so I decided to check it out after all. The impression is rather negative, mostly on the account of the new characters. Both Frank and Tanya feel stilted and unlikeable, and to make matters worse they have to fill rather big shoes of Kuroki and Saiko respectively (which duty they fail badly, IMHO). The animation seemed a grade below the original too. I limped through one episode and broke 30 seconds into the second one.

Evirus liked what he saw, in particlar the French language part. I thought it was decently done too, especially since I’m aware just how difficult it is for seiyuu to perform in other languages. Omo wrote that “everything else [aside from OP] stays the same [as in the original season]”. He’s right to an extent: drunk Nodame heaping h8 on Paris was very vintage Nodame, but it wasn’t enough. Damn Frank wastes too much screen time and even opens the 2nd episode.

P.S. The screencap from that awful pile of Flash:

Using my rudimentary Nihongo, I verified that it’s indeed Kuroki. However, I have no idea who stands next to him.

Nodame Paris 02

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

The second episode served to make it up to me a little, as characters improved a bit. Tanya was absent altogether and Frank de-emphasized; more characters appeared and made somewhat positive impression.

The animation still looks alien and even defective, however, in a shocking sign of progress, conducting was animated.

Nodame Paris 03

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

This episode left me yawning, sadly. Nodame has trouble in school and has to get herself together to overcome it yet again… sounds very familiar. Frank and Tanya seem a shade better now, but not anything special.

Another thing, the compression of the source is becoming too noticeable now. When bloggers complained that the conducting competition in the first two episodes was badly mauled when adapted from manga, I shrugged it off. The only noticeable moment of truncation was that indeed they should have showed Chiyaki conducting for the finals. But now, the whole episode looks like a recap episode for a show I haven’t watched. Too many plot jumps. Maybe I have no clue, but this was the impression from the first pass on the raw.

I hate sequels. Perhaps Nanoha and Aria improved in sequels, I cannot tell, but most shows don’t.

QUICK UPDATE: In a bizarre twist of fate I’m the blogosphere’s “badass rawblogger” on Paris-hen (with one screencap per episode). Aroduc punted it to Omni, but Omni is overloaded with the departure of Divine. Kurogane said on IRC that he watches it, but decided not to cover it. Totali also passed it for an unknown reason.

Very few sub watchers follow it, too. In fact, I cannot name any off the top of my head (I know Omo watches it, but he’s not an episodic blogger).