Monday, 31 March 2008

A Self-Indulgent Self-Reflection Post by a Self-Centred Blogger

So it's been 2 months into this anime blogging foray of mine. Whoopee. I'm only a day away from boarding a plane for Osaka, and in between being nervous as hell about it and finalizing packing, I'm still GIVING IT ALL I'VE GOT trying to catch up with the Winter Season finales before Spring comes in full force. Unfortunately, that hasn't amount to much when I'm still waiting for subs and being a naturally slow watcher, so this isn't the Final Winter Season Impression post I thought of doing before I leave. Instead, I thought I'd just share what I've learnt about myself as an anime blogger over the past two months.

And in a rather shoddy attempt to make this look more like an organized post than a spur of the moment one, I've decided to number them. Oh, what do you know, it's now a Top 10 post! Well, in no particular order:

1) I take too much time on posts. Some of these take actual hours to do and it's often I actually spend more time here than actually watching anything in a day. Even something like this will probably take me a good hour. Or three. *sigh* I'll probably have to adopt a less is more stance later when things like studies come back into play.

2) Ever constructed a decently intelligent post in your head only to have it completely wiped out of your memory once you sit down and start staring at a 'Create New Post' screen? This is actually an everyday affair for me, and most of the hours spent on 'blogging' that I take is mostly used up trying to pick up the fragments of ideas "I could've sworn I had a minute ago...". The end result? Half baked ideas being presented in a half baked fashion for the critical masses to see. Or ignore. Thankfully there are commenters who fill in the blanks where my one-sided rants often fail to touch upon.

2.5) Note to self: Start scribbling thought on paper

3) Wait a minute, this blog's actually has readers and the occasional comment now??? *pinches self* A Big Thanks goes to AnimeNano (and again hung for listing Tondemo Nothing on the site) for this (I'm guessing I'm not the only one who doesn't actually subscribe to specific blogs and just read posts from any blog that has an eye-catching enough title :P)! Oh, and also to the random people who Google for random things like 'manly Japanese' (trying not to think what the actual context is) who end up here as well. Well, I suppose I should also apologize to this blog's irrelevance to most of those searches. It happens =P

4) There are times I let my somewhat pessimistic outlook on life affect my blogging. Trying to be funny in posts (and failing) doesn't quite make up for that.

5) I need to be reeducated on the proper use of emoticons and memes. ORZ (Assuming there's a 'proper' way? :P)

6) I have a tendency to reference too many other anime and seiyuu in posts, especially when I run dry on content. Wish I could be as 'subtle' about it as that SHAFT show with Nonaka Ai or that one with the butler that's getting another season...

7) I seem to reference other blogs a whole lot too. Not as much as Author of course.

8) Not only am I slow to the point that I may conveniently 'lose track' of what I'm watching at times, the same happens with what I blog about. Oh and btw, Haruhi won March Madness on Derailed by Darry after all. Surprised?

9) I fail at episodic blogging. Takes too much time for me anyways.

10) Finally, I can't believe I've not done a single actual post on Animal Yokocho itself!!! For a start, I'll just lead you to hung's post and this one from Yuribou. And Matthew seems to be far far ahead than where the subs have stalled early last year... (Animal Yokocho concluded in what? 2004/5 ?)

In conclusion, I'm obviously still at a learning stage (and will likely be stunted at this stage for as long as I continue doing this) when it comes to blogging and there's certainly much to copy learn from other more established anime bloggers out there, blah blah blah. I seriously doubt I'll ever be as witty or funny or intelligent or scathing or bitchy (in a fun way :P) or influential as some of them are, nor will I ever be involved in dorama like the whole ABC fiasco (god forbid anyways). But you know what, it really doesn't matter as long as there's fun to be had on this side of the trapdoor, and as long as I'm still watching anime and reading people's views on them, I might as well be tossing in my two cent's worth.

Continue reading...

Kimikiss ~pure rouge~ : I guess one out of three's not bad...

Spot the odd coupling out -_-" (Hint: It's not the frog girls)

(Edit:) Answer: What a blooper, it is the frog girls (Posted a wrong pic -_-")

When Kimikiss ~pure rouge~ first started last year, I avoided it on the superficial account of it having a ridiculous-sounding title. Seriously, Kissdum~Engage Planet~ and then this (Didn't watch that one either for the same reason)? Based on this 'rule', I won't be touching To-LOVE-RU next season :P

Anyways, after finding out that Kimikiss had nothing to do with Kissdum and that it wasn't a generic fanservice harem despite what the image which the dubious title conjured up, I gladly gave it a go, and well, I kinda liked what I saw so I continued to the end.

But now that I think about it, was there much to like in the first place? I think I was just glad enough to watch something that wasn't a generic harem and I had faith in J.C. Staff serving up something decent in the 'serious' romance department. At the start there was the spunky character Mao and the mysterious ice queen type Futami that caught my attention early on (though I really hated her hairstyle, but you shouldn't judge a character by her design... and anime shouldn't be about the artwork... Yeah, delusions), and that made up for the rather lackluster male leadS (I think both ef and Kimikiss got people excited for having more than one male lead at that time). Then as the series got along and the initial pairings established themselves, things were watchable enough with Mao and Kai and Futami and Aihara. Kouichi and Yuumi weren't exactly the most enthralling coupling to watch at that time.
But then, things started to change when I spoilered myself on what was to become of Mao Kouichi and Yuumi (and if you don't want that to happen to you... well, what are you doing reading this post in the first place then?)

Till now, the idea of a Kouichi X Mao ending just doesn't seem right, like the only reason it's there is so that there's conflict in the story to lead up to a conventional climax in the end. Half way through the series, I realized that as dull Kouichi and Yuumi were at a glance, the two really complemented one another as a couple (if only for both being pretty plain average characters) and once I started appreciating that fact, watching them spend the most of their limited time together wasn't the chore it was at the start anymore. Of course, around that time Mao ceased to be her likeable self anymore and started carrying the burden of the bitch of the show when she started developing feelings for Kouichi seemingly out of nowhere, and dependable old Kai had to take the brunt of it.

Perhaps Kai's a little too dependable for Mao?... -_-"

Even Futami knows it's a bad line.

When things started gravitating full force towards a Kouichi X Mao end though, my attention turned to Aihara and Futami instead. Not that I ever ignored them in the first place. Despite carrying a little bitch burden (that picture cracked me up, lol) herself, I actually like Futami despite her stereotypical distant and socially unconscious persona (and I'm personally ashamed that I've only recently confirmed that her 'vaguely familiar' voice is that of Tanaka Rie... I need to clean my ears out a bit.). Aihara X Futami was one coupling I supported from the start, and I'm glad that things turned out pretty well for them in the end despite the dawdling around in the middle of the series, Aihara's clumsy if not amusing confession, and my worry that Futami would somehow give him up to Sakino out of pity or something in the end. And at least one of the couplings I actually rooted for materialized in the end (The other two being Kouichi X Yuumi and Hiiragi and the rich girl, lol)

In the end, I still found Kouichi getting together with Mao a slight stretch to the imagination since he really was getting along really well with Yuumi before Mao's hormones got the better of her, and he still calls her Mao-neechan even after confessing -_-" I am however glad for Yuumi, Sakino and even Kai for being able to move on with life despite their respective losses. Sakino especially was noteworthy in her actions that actually prodded Aihara X Futami in the right directions.

And that's it for Kimikiss from me. Overall, a decent watch which I actually have little to speak ill of (oh besides the horrible frogs and the fluctuating animation quality for what that's worth), though very little for me to rave about either. Kimikiss ends up being one of those series which was worth it enough to watch from week to week, though it's unlikely I'll remember anything of particular about it in a few seasons time. So much for that then.

Continue reading...

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations: Vampire Knights?

(Wanted to call the OVA just 'Tokyo Revelations' but that's apparently something different altogether)

When I think about it, I feel that I must've been really really bored once to have watched 2 whole seasons of Tsubasa Chronicles despite telling myself all the way that the series is utter trite since most of the stories when were generic, poorly executed and hardly showcased the creative flair I somehow associated with CLAMP. Okay, so I was curious to see CLAMP's characters put into new settings and variables, (So I watched the first season to the end waiting for X's Seishirou to appear, which he thankfully did though in much less twisted badass form than I liked) but even then, was it worth watching two seasons full of feather-hunting filler? (And they left out CCS's Yamazaki from the Piffle arc! The guy's hilarious, how could they not include him when he was clearly in the manga?!)

Still, I'm pretty glad I decided to watch this Tokyo Revelations OVA after all despite feeling that I've lost too much of my life with the first two series. Of course, you can trust Production I.G. to do a marvelous job at producing something (with production values like theirs, the most you can say for not liking their work is that "It's not for me" as opposed to "That was crap". Wish the same could be said for BEE TRAIN). It's definitely much grittier since it handles the not suitable for kids (Oooo, blood....) portion of the source product which BEE TRAIN wouldn't touch, and it advances the plot considerably much in a short span of time that it almost made up for the absolute lack of credible development in the second season. Well, almost. It almost seems that too much happens in too short a span of time for the viewer to properly grasp the situation. Then again, this is CLAMP, known for their elaborate setups and twists and yes, sudden revelations (were they really only involved in the character designs for Code Geass?). Then again, I'm rather slow :P

So at the end of it, the things I gathered were along the lines of:

Well at least now that I know what Miyano Mamoru (playing Kamui. Subaru's voiced by that Shimono Hiro - ef's Hirono, OoFuri's Tajima- not that I could actually tell without looking it up) sounds like as a bishie vampire, maybe I don't have to force myself to watch Vampire Knight next season anymore :P (I still will for Horie Yui though *sigh* VK was one show I had zero intention of touching until I saw the cast list. Suddenly it's on my MUST CHECK OUT (for at least one episode) list -_-")

Seriously I didn't expect them to pair up Kamui and Subaru as twins (much less vampiric ones... I think I prefer Hansel & Gretel, thank you) considering Subaru already has one and they're sort of using the Tokyo Babylon Subaru design instead of the X Subaru. What happened to Hokuto? Kamui's too emo to costume-rape Subaru into a Michael Jackson cosplay! At least they brought back the rest of the X TV crowd as well, though they average half a speaking line each by the end (and who's that extra shouta they slotted in?)

Nadie Sakura with a gun? I thought BEE TRAIN wasn't handling this one anymore? (Let's ignore the fact that she actually held one in the pathetic bus arc in the previous season) Anyways, it was a little irked that she had to go back into sleeping beauty mode for the first two episodes, and if it wasn't for what she did in the third, I'd think they only rehired Makino Yui just to do the OP. Synchronicity's one of her better songs though, it captures the desperation of the character quite well - the desperation that she had to actually do something in the OVA which she does in the end despite there so many of CLAMP's other characters more capable of conducting a solo mission in the vicinity -_-" And speaking of Sakura...

Cardcaptor Sakura? In my Tsubasa??? HOOEEEEEE??!!

What else? Mokona's still annoying as ever, Kurogane's still pissy as ever, Fai isn't looking all too good by the end, Shaoran... well let's just say he's not exactly like himself anymore. And though Yuuko explains that every little detail that's brought the group together had been conveniently arranged by Fei Wang Reed in lieau with his grand master plan (I'd be rather skeptical had I not spoiled myself by reading manga spoilers), it still seems rather farfetched in the sense that there seems to be no reason to choose these specific 4 for any particular reason at all to execute his plan (Why couldn't he choose someone more twisted and badass like Seishirou??? :P), it's not like they have any particular strengths that make them the perfect feather hunting machines (except in the case of 'Shaoran 2.0') and seems more trouble than it's worth. Perhaps there's a better explanation in the manga *shrugs* but the explanation that Yuuko gave just seemed to loosely tie loose ends for the sake of giving that semblance of destiny and inevitability that's always brought up by CLAMP.

But who cares about those details? Considering this is actually part of the so far sadly sub-par Tsubasa story(speaking of the anime here), this OVA is pretty good. It's much a slicker production, the music still retains the quality which the first two seasons probably didn't deserve, things actually happen that matter to the plot, and it didn't feel like a complete waste of time! It's a good redeemer for those who had or still have any interest in this series and have been scarred by the poor television series. Now if we could only get Production I.G. to continue doing the future non-filler arcs in the story...

Continue reading...

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

True Tears 12: Sad Girls in Snow Should Not Climb Trees!

(spoilers for true tears 12 and a certain Kyoto Animation adaptation of a KEY game)

"I Can't Believe It's Not KANON"

(At least Noe's 'flight' was intentional, though much too emotionally driven. I was actually going "NOOOO NOEEE DON'T DO IT!!" while watching this scene, whereas when Ayu fell in Kanon I was actually close to laughing - it felt so incredibly surreal and came out of nowhere (in the 2002 version. In 2006 they included the wind) and the first thoughts in my mind were: "What th- So this is why they call her squirrel girl???")

I've got to hand it to true tears. Not only has it split the viewers into two camps (Noe VS Hiromi. Oh, and Jason), the story has snaked itself from one direction to the other and the art has been consistently gorgeous in the snow - I mean show =P I've always been a Noe supporter myself but I had my money on a Hiromi end from the start (Chinese New Year should have taught me that this isn't my best year in gambling -_-"), but now I've (finally) joined the giddifying wait for what should be the most anticipated end of a series this season.

Small points of interest:
Though we've seen the Mugiha festival in the OP for the past 12 episodes, it was still a treat for the eyes to see it finally unfold. P.A. Works certainly did a good job conjuring up the atmosphere for the event, which gave the unfolding drama the right backdrop. And of course, anime this may be, but the practice the dancers had throughout the series made their synchronity in their dancing a bit more believable than say Motekke Sailor Fuku.

As for Jun, I dunno whether to give him kudos or raise an eyebrow to his own realization and actions towards his 'affections' *coughs* towards Noe. It's probably the first time I've seen a character in anime acknowledge that he's a siscon and act against it. In fact I didn't really expect the script to tie up this section of the story at all, but now that it has, will we be getting a Noe end in the end?

gg Hiromi?

I'd like to think that's true, but that judgment will be reserved till later. Hiromi's early 'win' a few episodes before should have raised alarms since there was about of a quarter of the series left (The same goes for Kimikiss *sigh*), and now that she's really feeling the threat of Noe, things don't look too good for her camp. Her confrontation with Noe this episode is of particular note, and though her standing her ground may make her look like the bitch of the show , Kurogane has conveniently dispelled that notion. Personally, I felt pretty bad for her when Shinichiro snubbed her in the end to go after Noe. Though my gut now tells me Noe will win, we'll just have to wait and see.

Continue reading...

Tuesday, 25 March 2008


Needed a more recent Osaka icon in anime besides Kotomi (Well, it wasn't stated where she was born). The All-Hanshin Kyojin will more than suffice.

(Otherwise, it'd be Kawachi from Yakitate! Japan and this post would be called "NANDATTE?!!!" instead.)

So it's confirmed, this little panda's going to Japan in a week. (Kawachi: "NANDATTE?!!!") No prize for guessing where, though you might get one for the "why" =P

Or not. Unless you want some virtual bamboo dangos. DS isn't the only one who can make one.

Of course, when it comes to anime icons of Osaka, you can't get away without mentioning Osaka herself (What's her real name again? Did we really need to know?). And when it comes to Osaka(-san), there's little that's less awesome than her banner on Sea Slugs!... Oh wait, it's not there anymore?

This post would be rather pointless if I don't come clean anyhows (don't really have the resources to churn out a Top XX characters with a Kansai-ben post right now). So I'll be in Japan for at least a year to study the language full force in the hopes of entering a Japanese university the year after. Probably not the most common course of education of your typical Malaysian as several parties have pointed out to me on several occasions (particularly the two older people who support my current hikikomori lifestyle), and there's a part of me somewhere telling me that this is too much of insane leap of faith I'm taking here. Obviously, I don't listen to that part of me very often.

Needless to say, I'll be GIVING IT ALL I'VE GOT once I'm there (I so need a new catchphrase next season) and hopefully avoid turning out like Satou in Welcome to the NHK *shudders* (Misaki come save me if I do). I foresee an uphill battle against kanji (since I am a shame to my Chinese heritage with the character recognition skills of a typical Chinese kindergartener), so I'll probably turn my nerd on rather than my otaku on when I'm there >.< (What's with all the pessimism here? Too much Zetsubou Sensei episodes subbed recently??)

That should be enough for today from me - am ridiculously drained after the ridiculously long process of dragging my outside world fearing world self all the way to the embassy to finally apply for that visa I've been needing (Here's a tip, photocopy all your documents just in case they don't want to hold your originals to avoid lining up for the same application twice! It's probably common knowledge to the more street-wise, just wished someone had told me beforehand -_-" And bless the officers who had to work overtime to process my documents in the end). Going to go brush up on those Japanese listening skills now - watching anime turned educational, gee golly whiz!

Continue reading...

Monday, 24 March 2008

Clearing up the AIR between KANON and CLANNAD

My reaction to Clannad overall. Minus the true tears.

(Pardon the rather lousy title, am brain-drained after yet another post of content of possibly pretentious worth... Gah. Also spoilers for Air, Kanon and Clannad lurk within...)

So CLANNAD has recently reached its conclusion with some summer omake to come afterwards. Will that turn out to be like Air in Summer, I wonder? Cos that would be a good thing to someone like me who actually liked Air in Summer but disliked Air itself as a whole, and found CLANNAD not much better.

Kanon of course is another story (so-to-speak) where I actually liked both incarnations (TOEI's rather dated-looking one and Kyoto Animation's snowy eye-candy spectacle). What set Kanon apart from the Air and Clannad though, for me, turned out to be something rather superficial - 'twas the snow.

Yes, that's right, in my shallow mind's eye, Kyoto Animation has succeeded in mesmerizing me with their glorious snowy eye candy (Toei couldn't, but then again I watched Kanon 2002 while watching Kanon 2006 so that I could glimpse ahead in the story. 2006 obviously had the edge with the gorgeous art and better pacing - minus the dragged out Makoto arc - while 2002 served up more Nayuki in the ending, so they're both good in my books :P) , giving me a very favourable impression of Kanon, whereas the sunny beach of Air and the spring blossoms(?) of Clannad did absolutely nothing for me.

To a certain extent, it's rather true :P I'm a sucker for snow, as only someone who's grown up in a tropical country and has never had to shovel a sidewalk or got stuck on a long train journey to meet someone can be. But here's the thing, all that snow in Kanon was part of a larger aspect of the visual novel adaptation experience - the atmosphere.

The whole wintry snow element in Kanon worked well with the whole melancholy of the events and story, hence the whole sad girls in snow ploy. Even the supernatural elements seem pretty much at home in the snowy scape and scope of the story. From Last Regrets to Ayu running in the snow at the end of an episode, together with the music box-like soundtrack, everything fit well in the snowy setting of the Kanon-verse, all actually seemed right for fox girls to be running about and girls to be slaying their 'inner' demons.

Air's sunny summer though gave a totally different atmosphere - that of summer fantasy, dreams and hope. The irony is that Kanon's melancholy ended happily for all the so-called 'sad' girls (happily enough considering only one girl gets the guy, but still) while in Air, I expected at the start that the guy would succeed in finding the girl with the wings and free her from her curse blah blah blah... Only things don't end happily ever after at all. Which made things rather inconclusive and just plain sad for the sake of being sad. Boo.

As for Clannad? Well the lack of a seasonal attachment made it slightly less obvious as to what atmosphere the series is supposed to convey. To me at least, the atmosphere in Clannad came across as rather typical high school romance drama, what with all the supposedly funny high school hijinx thrown in. This setup suddenly becomes less remarkable than say, sad girls in snow/summer , and so to add in the KEY signature, there are the surprise elements like astral-projection (hmm... where have we seen that before...) and the whole girl and robot in the imaginary world thing (which in the end, didn't tie in well with any particular element in the story or I just didn't get).

However, I found CLANNAD's ultimate failing to be that Kyoto Animation was once again trying to adapt a visual novel in the way that they did with Kanon and Air - where every girl gets their portion of the story and it ends with the 'main heroine' snagging the guy. CLANNAD started with this formula with Fuko and Kotomi, but then had to toss Kyou, Ryou, Tomoyo and even Sunohara in our faces at a go before ending with Nagisa.

But the main reason why it didn't work out smoothly is because, from start to finish, CLANNAD the anime was meant to be Nagisa's story - with everyone else ended up being window dressing (hence why only her name I bolded :P). But instead of keeping them as window dressing or even allowing all the girls a fair chance, KyoAni establishes Nagisa as the central heroine at the start, making her nearly inseparable from the Tomoya, and then tried to recreate what they did in Kanon by fleshing out some of the girls' stories, but failed halfway because of the conflicting storylines presented with each girl in the game (this I gather from rants by Hinano and others who've played through the game), thus tossing us a salad conclusion to the remaining of the girls' stories before rounding their focus back to Nagisa and Tomoya sitting in a tree... So we get the Nagisa start, Nagisa middle and Nagisa end, but with a lot of in between that ends up feeling rather unwanted. Air had a similar 'problem' regarding Misuzu, but since there were only 2 other girls to dispense with, and they were dispensed with neatly in their own short arcs, it's not so apparent as in Clannad where only half the girls got that treatment.

Whereas with Kanon, though it was obvious Ayu would figure as the end girl (the OP says it all basically with these adaptations), every other girl got their individual arc, and though you still see Ayu and Nayuki around during Makoto or Mai's arc for example, they're not permanently tagging along with Yuuichi in his quest to liberate the sad girls in snow of their individual sadness. In Clannad, Tomoya had started with Nagisa first before Fuko came along, and since then we see Nagisa there with Tomoya helping Fuko, Nagisa with Tomoya weeding Kotomi's garden, Nagisa at the totally necessary basketball game cheering "Okazaki-san!!" (and nullifying everyone else's presence in Tomoya's heart *groans*)... It goes on until the end where Nagisa's own story comes to fore finally and the series concludes serviceably. Ho-hum. Nagisa and Tomoya live happily ever after. Nyeh.

As a whole, I view Clannad as an average attempt at romance at best, with too many strings attached for its own good. It probably won't matter to its legions of fans who find the redeeming qualities of the side characters' thighs, the bullying humour, the dangos, or the deeper meanings in the familial themes... But for me, as far as KyoAni'+KEY shows go, it's still Kanon > Air in Summer (short, simple, unpretentious) > Clannad > Air

Continue reading...

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Back in the (Animal) Alley

So after a not so mysterious disappearance (had relatives to visit *gasps* so much for being a hikikomori... Then again for all you know I could've just popped back through that trapdoor I came from...) I'm back to leave a teeny if not inconsequential mark on the already bloated blogosphere. Huzzah...

Advertising for Gurren Lagann?

Though my anime viewing has taken a nosedive for the past few days, but I've been generally GIVING IT ALL I'VE GOT (well, not really, got distracted by the pile of manga lying about where I was. Read about 3 volumes of
Full Metal Panic Sigma and all I can say is... makes me want to finish watching FMP- if the backlog was significantly less currently) in keeping up with the general ho-hum in the blogosphere.

Well, I may say general but really I've just been to
Derailed to check out on the
March Madness Championship :P Jason has posted a whole lot regarding why GAINAX Gurren Lagann is perhaps more deserving the vote as opposed to Kyoto Animation Haruhi and for the most part I agree since both series have been a source of much enjoyment so it's tough to choose between them. Without being as wordy as Jason, I'll just state right off that my vote's for the Gurren-Dan just because I'd rather not see another Haruhi banner on a blog right now :P That and the rather undemocratic sentimentality of supporting the underdog (God Knows if Haruhi-ism will ever die -_-")

And on the continuing subject of popularity contests, there's them The Anime Blog Awards. Here's some discussion on how the people behind it probably do mean well despite the restrictions to just anime bloggers in the nominations (and possibly the later voting) making it all seem rather *gasps*
elitist... Well whatever the reasons and motivations, it's another bandwagon I don't see any harm in jumping on. I've just registered to nominate, though there's a chance it won't even happen since technically, Tondemo-Nothing's been around before Feb 1st, but my 'first' post only came about on that date itself... Well whatever the case, even if I don't pass the eligibility thing, it'll just be another thing of interest to observe *shrugs*

Well, enough of all that, got some episodes to catch up to right now. (The 'much anticipated' finale of
CLANNAD VS two new subbed episodes of Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei? Thank the anonymous people of Anonymous! Why can't voting in them popularity contests be this easy? =P)

Continue reading...

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Shigofumi 10: Otaku Power!!!

In Japan, it is illegal for a full grown man to bring a loli walking around in public.

So much for posting every 3 episodes... Now I'm posting 3 times a day?? (Well it's to make up for me disappearing for the next 4 days...)

But I couldn't resist posting about this episode of Shigofumi, it's just made of so much unexpected lulz. And it further proves that this series relies a lot on blatant use of shock factor - which really is it's strength. Like the bunch of housewives gossiping in the presence of an impressionable minor in this episode (the look on her face when they revealed the yaoi husband twist was priceless XD), Shigofumi wastes little of its storytelling with subtleties - and yet the subtleties are still there, just that the inevitably 'shocking' revelation takes precedence in the end.

Ninja cafe (de gozaru?) I'd so visit one =P

There're 2 major characters in this episode. The first one is a young Fumika. No, not, that Fumika with the talking staff, nor that Fumika who's lying in the bed waiting to get up the next episode... Urgh, this is getting confusing, can I just call them 1, 2 and The Third?

Then there's Takehiko, full grown self-proclaimed otaku who until recently was employed in a game company (as far as we know, he's not involved in making those kind of games), is still single at 32, and reeks enough of otaku to be arrested for loli-knapping while taking a relative's child out for a walk. After finding out that he's dying of cancer, he quits the company and resigns himself to whithering away at his mom's place and waiting for that epiphany on the greater meaning of his otaku life.

Yes, let's! (If Takehiko could get arrested while walking around with little Fumika out in public, just imagine what the police's reaction would be if they caught him taking her in nekomimi mode into a Ninja cafe...)

The story this episode is on the milder side, and doesn't hinge as much as the Shigofumi that comes with it (it comes in the end for closure's sake). Basically it's Takehiko hanging out with Fumika (III), doing reckless things as only someone who's dying soon thinks they're able to do. The 'underlying issue' if there was one would be how the Japanese society sees otaku or people who work in the otaku-related industry as inferior to the 'regular' office drones.

Honestly, the guy had a paying job that made him happy doing what he loved, but society being the narrow-minded housewife gossip-mongering fiend that it is seems to think that if it's not a 'regular' office job, he is therefore scum to the community? Geez... If the guy didn't have cancer and my drawing doesn't suck that bad, I'd absolutely love to be where he was at before he quit. It's absolutely a blessing to be able to do something you love for a decent living as a career, especially when it's something that's usually more hobby-related like anime and games. You may not be saving the world or making big bucks, but you're making yourself and a whole bunch of other people happy and as far from emo and suicidal as you can through your work, so be glad and screw what society thinks! Otakus 4TW!!!

Was I the only one thinking: "Sensei... Ninomiya-kun!!" ?

The way Takehiko's situation 'resolves' itself wasn't totally unexpected, and was rather blatantly cliche (What do these people need? Signs by the road telling them NOT to stand in the middle of the road??), but it's just Shigofumi's way of exercising its point as usual. And it works. No subtlety involved again as the guy realizes in his final moment of glory that he has made people happy with his work, and he does save Fumika from the killer truck so at least he gets to die a hero instead of a cancer-crippled bed patient. It fits well with the less nasty-emo turn of these past few episodes. As usual it fits well with the story, makes its point, still perfectly acceptable if not at all believable, and that's that.

How typical... Otaku scum of society when alive... 'Kind-hearted person' when dead. (Bloody hypocrites) Death really becomes some people...

A nice touch to the end during the funeral is Fumika (the postal worker) delivering Takehiko's Shigofumi to Fumika (young girl). It's not so much the content of the letter, but how Fumika 1 didn't use her usual "A Fumi from the world of the Shigo" to explain what a Shigofumi was to Fumika 3, instead relating it as a parting gift of sorts. It's a small sign that Fumika 1's been lightening up ever since the whole fiasco with her loopy dad got settled. Now, what will be in store for the Fumikas when Fumika 2 wakes up? Will I still need to refer to them by numbers then??

Anyways, to people who are pursuing lives or careers involving your likes and hobbies, whether they are otaku-related or not, remember to GIVE IT ALL YOU'VE GOT and ignore any snooty comments housewives or society has for you (unless of course, what you do involves killing or loli-knapping :P). As long as you've got something to occupy you and keep you from contributing to the world's suicide rate, isn't that meaning enough for life as it is? =P

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Yu(u)ki, Muon, Madobe Nite

I was about to edit my last post with "Oh noes, what have they done to Yuki's character song???" after listening to the 'new' Yuki, Muon, Madobe Nite here. But then I stumbled on the 'full' version of the gender-bended song... which thankfully sounds 10 times better than the first one *Phew*

No prizes for guessing who my favourite Suzumiya Haruhi character is =P (Though I'm at a total lost for words at how to react to herhis(?) gender-bended version... )

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March Madness Final 4: Kyoto GAINAX Kyoto Kyoto

The March Madness Final Four include 3 series by Kyoto Animation - and Gurren Lagann. Possibly to prevent it being KyoAniVS KyoAni in the end, Jason decides to mix things up by having all four go against each other at once (vote for the 2 you like best!). So will it be Haruhi-Gurren Lagann? Haruhi-Fumoffu? Or Haruhi-CLANNAD (*urgh* Please no...)? (I'd like to think I'm getting ahead of myself here, but seeing Haruhi get 700+ votes per round compared to Fumoffu's 557 which came in second... There's also the incredibly amusing gender-bender version of Haruhi sparking everyone's interest lately as well...)

Back to March Madness, I'm now pulling for Gurren Lagann to pierce that high ceiling that is Haruhi hence one vote to the Gurren-dan from me =P As for the second, not that I have anything against Haruhi (it seems that you either worship the franchise or treat it as overhyped trite), but I'd be deluding myself to assume that it's not advancing to the final showdown with or without my vote (I'm banking on the fact that everyone else is more democratically minded than yours truly). So it boiled down to Fumoffu or CLANNAD... Gee... this is a tough one... *rolls eyes*

Thus far we have Haruhi well in the lead with Gurren Lagann coming in second with a decent margin ahead of Fumoffu and that other one with the sad girls. There's until the 21st to vote before what should be an epic (if not predictable) showdown for that coveted banner on Derailed... The question is will it still stay as Derailed by DARRY after that? Hmm...

Now if you excuse me, I've got some gender-bended songs to listen to...

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Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Whatever happened to "And they lived happily ever after"?

Bad End for true tears?

Question: Why is it that picture books that pop up in anime tend to become utterly depressing? Aren't these books supposedly meant for young children who ought to be sheltered from the horrible horrible things in life (At least till they enter their emo teen years)? Wouldn't it be bothersome for the adults to explain to their young impressionable children who are probably sobbing their little hearts out that, yes, sometimes life can be cruel to the chickens/dangos/fictional fantasy creatures of the world blah blah blah... Or was I totally mislead and the truth is that these books are really for depressed adults who are too lazy to read something with too many words and no pictures? Is it a ploy by publishing companies to milk tears out of people without going through the hassle of making a visual novel with sad girls and hoping that a certain production company in Kyoto animates it?

Shouldn't they be watching stuff like Animal Yokocho and Zenryoku Usagi instead? =P

(Highly irrelevant post inspired by Shinichiro's first draft of "Raigomaru to Jibeta no Monogatari" from true tears. Other depressing picture book ideas can be referenced from Chobits (a bit too cryptic for the average child, considering it was written for a robot) and School Rumble Nigakki. I don't exactly recall if the picture book in Kimi ga Nozomu Eien was actually depressing in any way, but it sure didn't do Haruka much happiness... And don't get me started on novels like The Dog of Flanders and Chihiro's novel in ef...)

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Ookiku Furikabutte 26: Fanservice Extra???

The woes of the well-endowed women of baseball...

I managed to watch less than half of the chinese subs for this DVD only episode when it first came out (my combined Japanese and Chinese comprehension obviously being way below subpar). Seleria's post on it gave the impression that the only thing worth watching in the episode was 'sexeh bodeh' so I left it on the backburner for a while... Almost forgetting about it till Central Anime released English subs (Thankfully, or there'd be a bunch of dialogue that would've blown past my head, like the following:)

Thank God Central Anime for subs!

The episode is really a peek into the Musashino baseball team, from the perspective of one of the team members who feels that their team has no chance in advancing past the first round in Koshien, hence it would be 'embarrassing' for them to train as seriously as Haruna does. In the end, Haruna uses some psychological trickery to show the guy the power of GIVING IT ALL YOU'VE GOT and inspires the team captain and the rest of their team to GIVE IT ALL THEY'VE GOT as well, which leads to the team's victory in their first game of the season. Huzzah. To me what was interesting to see was the lengths the characters would go in order to advance themselves in baseball, especially in selecting the schools they want to enter based on the school's team/grounds, etc. (this was touched upon in the previous ep as well) I suppose the concept is rather foreign to someone who was never that into sports and dreaded Physical Education in school as a chore like me =P

It doesn't matter if you win or lose... as long as YOU GIVE IT ALL YOU'VE GOT!!

They managed to introduce some of the Musashino team members, but being a one-off episode (unless Musashino faces off against Nishiura later on in a future season... Oh wait, better not get ahead of myself there...) my brain hardly registered any of their names (it's hard enough keeping track of the Nishiura's!) save for Haruna (duh) and Suzune, the manager. Thankfully, like Momokan, she has a personality to match her, uh, assets (If Shinooka followed this trend, it's would give the impressions that OoFuri's all about the balls and boobs *swt*). As for Haruna, watching his crush on Suzune being, well crushed by the revelation that she's dating the team captain (whom he doesn't get along with!), was well worth watching the episode for :P


Haruna chanelling Mihashi??? Priceless XD

Though we never got to see a MihashiVSHaruna showdown in the anime (has it or will it happen in the manga? Should I consider reading it???), the above scene totally made up for it XD

All in all, a nice epilogue of sorts to an already awesome series, and thankfully I didn't find it a disappointment like Seleria did (well, I did have the advantage of being informed that there was no Mihashi, Abe or Tajima in the episode, so my expectations were suitably adjusted =P) as Haruna-centric the episode was (my blood still boils remembering the scene where he smugly thinks he's 'won' against Abe when he first meets Mihashi in all his flightiness in the bathroom. Grrr...). I'm still crossing fingers for another season some time in the future though... (Then again, said fingers have been crossed a LONG time for another installment of Ouran amongst other things...)

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