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Fansubs and Licenses – a partial reply to Drm’s take on the issue August 28, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Anime, Ramblings.
4 comments

This is a reply to part of Drm’s Fansubs and YOU. This is an unresearched discussion on why using licenses as a basis for when to stop fansubbing is silly. It’s also my selfish indulgence as a law student based on what little I’ve learnt in my Intellectual Property Law course… which I haven’t even finished.

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The rest of the season July 22, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Anime, Ramblings.
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Quick, one paragraph reviews of the rest of the first episodes I’ve seen this season.

Coyote Ragtime Show
Pure, distilled action anime awesomeness. Cheesy yes, crappy no. Twelve robot gothic sisters with WoMD? Check. Strong, independant woman with giant mamaries? Check. Mysterious protagonist with cool sidekicks? Check. Girl with really, really annoying voice? Check. All the ingredients for a great season of fun and blowing shit up is there, how can this fail?

Zero no Tsukaima
I see a lot of people calling this Shakugan no Tsukaima or Zero no Shana. Regardless of how good Shana was, there is no reason to let the fact that the same voice actors are taking the lead together again cloud over this anime’s own brilliance (must admit I got strong Shana vibes when Louise said “Urusai!” though). This isn’t going to be a Suzumiya Haruhi, let alone a NGE, but as long as you watch it for its cheesy merits, you’ll enjoy it for what it is – a well produced, shallow, but ultimately enjoyable romantic comedy.

Muteki Kanban Musume
Made me laugh. Hard. So hard that I thought my spleen would come out. I love the OP – don’t bash this OP! It’s brilliant! I really don’t know why I love this so much, I mean, it’s bad. But in a good way. It’s bad but it’s good. Or maybe it’s so bad that it’s good. I don’t know, you know what I mean. This is a dark horse that might even win the best show of the season.

Tsuyokiss
I was tricked. This is just bad. I can’t even put my finger on why it’s so bad – the overly dramatic performance? The inane characters? The ridiculous setting? Whatever, dropped.

Honey and Clover II
I don’t like the new character designs; I prefer the first season’s which were more authentic to the manga. The substance is still there though, and that is what makes Honey and Clover so outstanding. They could replace the characters with Sesame Street puppets for all I care, I would still watch it. As long as Big Bird gets to play Hanamoto-sensei.

The Importance of the First Episode July 17, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Anime, Ramblings.
11 comments

The other day, while i was hanging out in the AnimeNano IRC channel (#animenano@irc.rizon.net), I was told that I wasn’t worthy of watching anime. A harsh thing, to say that someone isn’t worthy of enjoying a particular form of entertainment. What did I do to earn this ire? I stopped watching Zegapain after two (2) episodes.

Kaminagi

Kaminagi is cute, I’ll give you that much

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First Impression: Welcome to the NHK! July 13, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Anime, First Impressions.
9 comments

I read the early parts of the manga a long time ago, so I don’t really remember NHK very well. However, I did remember that it was funny, even if the more recent chapters make me want to kill instead of laugh.

Anime Welcome to the NHK is depressing, right from the start.

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Top Ten Most Memorable Anime Moments July 11, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Anime, Features.
45 comments

WARNING: This article contains foul language. If you’re under 12 and/or a sissy, parental guidance is adviced.

Every once in a while, when watching a TV show, a little something shows up, and that little something leaves you breathless. It might be a moment of great revelation; it could just be someone kicking ass and taking names; or it could just as easily be something you’ve expected all along, but when it finally happens it still leaves you gasping for air. It could make you laugh until it hurts, it could make you cheer out so loud that your neighbour starts complaining, or it could leave you in tears. Just as it could be something that changes the entire anime, it could just as easily be something that is utterly inconsequential. Whatever it might be, whatever your response, such a moment of greatness leaves a footprint in your mind, and it makes you wonder how stale life would be without them.

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The End of Suzumiya Haruhi’s Melancholy July 5, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Anime, Ramblings.
2 comments

nyoreron.jpg
Tsuruya is so awesome, despite never doing much at all. Nyorero~n

Finally, the controversial series comes to a close with Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu VI, which is chronologically the 6th episode, but wraps the series up nicely with a conventional climax. The series overall left me with a good feeling – it was funny, well produced, well directed, and all round good fun.

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Anime Feature: Honey and Clover July 3, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Anime, Features.
9 comments

1134422134honey_and_clover_ost__01.jpg

Honey and Clover is, without a doubt, a modern classic in anime and manga. I’ve seen nothing but praise for this great series, and both the anime and manga are in my top 5 all time personal favourites. I like the manga so much, I read the thing through no less than 20 times within the first week of buying it. So yes, that means I’m extremely biased towards this series and you’ll read nothing but praise in the following 1000 words.

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What am I watching for the summer season? June 27, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Anime, Ramblings.
4 comments

Everyone’s doing their summer season line-ups, so there’s really no reason for me to post links and pics to every single summer season show. This post is to summarise what shows I’m likely to watch, and in what order of anticipation.

danbooru1120856377.jpg
The only Hachikuro fanart I can find on danbooru and it’s loli-Ayu. At least Hagu only LOOKS loli.

1. Honey & Clover II

Honey and Clover

2. ハチミツとクローバーII

Is so awesome that no words

3. Hachikuro II

Can do it justice.

4. Hachimitsu to Clover II

No words.

5. NHK ni Youkoso!

The manga started a little depressing but very funny. Now, in its fourth volume, I find it far more depressing than funny, as both Satou’s and Misaki’s problems really come to the fore. I’ll be watching this anyway because it is Welcome to the NHK!, but I don’t know if I’ll have the power to persevere through an entire season of it.

6. Coyote Ragtime Show

With a name like that and such strong production value, this is looking like it could be in the vain of similarly named Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. If it ends up like those shows than it will definitely be worth watching.

7. Tsuyokiss

I’ve been brainwashed by Ayyo. [zombie]cool x sweeeeet.[/zombie]

8. Tonagura

I hate harem show, but at least this one looks like it’ll be pretty, and possibly even funny. Hopefully on top of the prettiness it’ll have some substance to back it up.

9. Otogi Jushi Akazukin Bundan

I saw sketches for this in a magazine a few weeks ago, and I fell in the love with the cute but detailed character designs. I downloaded the first episode of the OVA but I still have to watch it. Again, hopefully there’s enough content to allow me to stay awake through the oh-so-pretty moving pictures.

This short list doesn’t mean I won’t watch the other shows, just that there is very little incentive for me to download them. If a show gets really good reps, I might give it a go. Hopefully there will be as many quality shows this season as there were last!

Fillers, popularity and profits May 23, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Anime, Ramblings.
13 comments

Anime, in terms of how much story they can pump out each week, moves much faster than manga. An average episode of anime might contain as much story and action as two to three chapters of manga, and this means that anime based on manga often catches up to their original, run out of things to base themselves, and leave the production team with a dilemma:

Do we do ‘fillers’, or do we stop the anime?

Filler as I use it here means “original content not found in the manga, used to fill up the time needed for the manga to develope more storyline.” Two very popular shows are now in their filler arcs: Naruto and Bleach.

While Bleach has decent filler contents, Naruto fillers suck. Naruto fillers has been going on for a long time now, ever since Sasuke ran off to Orochimaru, and tries to fill up the two years left blank by the manga. The quality has very apparently decreased – the drawing loses consistency, the animation quality drops off, and the story becomes absolutely laughable.

Why did Studio Pierrot decide to make their own story, instead of waiting for more manga material to work with? The answer is obviously profit, the thing that drives all corporations. As long as popularity for the series continues, advertisements, tie-in merchandise and other sources of revenue will continue to generate a profit for both the studio and the TV station broadcasting the show.

But such low quality production is as likely to make the show unpopular as it is to keep up its popularity. A lot of people followed the Naruto anime, but once it entered the fillers arc, these supporters began to drop in numbers. It has become so unpopular around here now, you can’t even find any of the newer episoders on the *cough* legal *cough* file sharing network at my university. On the other hand dozens of people share the manga and good television shows like Prison Break.

If, like I said, popularity wanes due to the existence of such filler arcs, wouldn’t it be better to stop producing the show all together until there is more content to work with? Many fans who are pushed away by the fillers simply would not come back, because they have lost faith in the show. That means that when the story resumes there would be less people watching the show and buying its merchandise, which leads to less profit for the companies.

Maybe the answer is that overall, the profit from running fillers are better than not showing the show at all. Afterall, with a second season to air after a long time (and Naruto fillers have been running for a looooong time) popularity will take time to gain its momentum again. Also, during the time when the show leaves the public’s mind, tie-in products would probably suffer more devastating sales drop than if they continued to show inferior fillers.

But all this profit comes at the cost of the anime’s – and the production studio’s – goodwill and reputation. This is probably a cost that many in management never thought about. While the Naruto and Bleach manga continue to suceed and gain popularity, the fillers are slowly but surely destroying the anime’s reputation – and its fanbase. Maybe by the time the original story rolls around again, there will only be a few hardcore fans left, and Naruto might never attain its immense popularity again.

(I also have thoughts on anime that don’t have enough manga material ending, but that’s another story altogether.)

The Super Saiyan Syndrome May 15, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Anime, Features, Manga.
9 comments

Dragonball and its sequels* are some of the most popular and well known anime shows in the world. It was phenomenal when originally released in Japan, took Asia by storm when translated, and even in America it was received with great enthusiasm (amongst those who watch anime/cartoons anyway). I have a 24 year old American friend who still regularly wears a Dragonball Z t-shirt, and that is surely a testament to its popularity.

It obviously had its flaws, such as the ridiciulously long “let’s-stare-at-each-other” time, its action consisting mostly of (awesome) flickering vertical black lines, and it invented what I call the “Super Saiyan Syndrome” (The Syndrome).

The Syndrome refers to when a character suddenly gains incredible power in order to defeat an enemy that he could not possibly have defeated previously. Sometimes he has to work for it, sometimes he doesn’t. Usually it seems to be triggered by anger or, as seems to be the only moral lesson to be found in shounen shows, “in order to protect the ones who are important to me”. However they get it, it always involve a physical transformation and a ridiculous increase in power. There are usually a number of levels.

Now let us examine some culprits.

Naruto
Is there anything cooler than ninjas? Ninjas that transform, obviously. Naruto, Sasuke and Gaara all transform at some point in the story. Naruto gets his kyuubi power, Sasuke gets Orochimaru’s seal, and Gaara turns into that sand monster thing. Naruto in the newest Naruto manga chapters demonstrates most ably the Syndrome – hell he even did a spirit bomb.
SUPER NINYANNN~~~
Super Saiyan reference? Nah, no way

Bleach
We started with Ichigo getting Shinigami powers, with a Zanpaktou. That’s cool, we all love normal people turned heroes. Then he learnt the inital release, then power-uped by “fighting along-side Zangetsu”, then Ban-kai, and now Vaizard powers. He has to work for all the them, true, but no one would notice if you replace the names with Super Shinigami, Super Shinigami 2, Super Shinigami 3 and Super Shinigami 4 respectively. [sarcasm]Kubo Tite gets props for a transforming sword instead of a transforming person.[/sarcasm]

Yu Yu Hakusho
Pretty much everyone except Kuwabara transforms. Hiei’s eye(s), Kurama’s demon fox form, Yusuke’s demon form, Genkai’s (HAWT) young form, Toguro with his vents… the list goes on. Togashi has since cured the Syndrome and Hunter X Hunter is better for it.

Tenjo Tenge
Souchiro’s black hair incarnation is definitely Super Saiyan, and so is Aya when she activates her eyes. If you still need convincing, find volume 9 of the manga and read the first chapter. Souchiro is definitely Super Saiyan.

TenTen
Can’t find that picture I was referring to… but with girls like this, who cares?

The Super Saiyans are great because they are easy to write, allows the underdog to win, and are incredibly exciting. I still remember how exciting it was to see Gohan beat the crap out of Cell when he went into Super Saiyan 2. But really, after all these years, you’d think mangakas would’ve invented other methods of making fights exciting? Or is it a “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of thing?

*Except the bastardisation that is GT. I could feel my childhood dying when I watched that.