DragonBAWLZ

May 6, 2009 at 11:19 pm (Anime)

So you think Kamina is so great, in DBZ Goku dies in the THIRD EPISODE. LOL.

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Spring Anime

April 27, 2009 at 11:07 pm (Anime)

At first glance I had low expectation for the Spring anime line-up; I’m glad I went ahead and pulled a lot of ep-ones though, because it’s turned out considerably better than I expected.

After about three weeks, two shows stand out: Eden of the East (in the Noitamina slot) and Shangri-la. Both have good production quality, are engaging, and have at least started out at a reasonable pace with the suggestion of a well-rounded story. I’d recommend them to pretty much anyone.

The Full Metal Alchemist remake feels like it’s intentionally targeted at an audience that’s already seen the original (because they’re compressing a lot of the rehashed story material, to get to the manga branch point faster). I thought the first run of it was competent and I enjoyed watching it (though was annoyed at the unresolved ending, even with the movie); so far it looks like this will be at least as good.

If you’ve never seen Dragonball Z, you might want to catch the HD rebroadcast (or a few episodes at least). Really, if you look at it as a classical anime, it doesn’t seem bad at all, particularly while it’s free of extreme overseas editing (i.e. the American TV release). The first episode starts with a ~10 minute recap of everything that happens in Dragonball, so you don’t need to read/watch that first.

SHAFT’s molestation of Natsu no Arashi seems to amount to a mild groping, rather than a rusty trombone party. The first episode made me a little motion sick (there are more cuts in SHAFTs animation than in a lincoln park fanboy), but I anchored myself to my Jin Kobayashi worship and either my inner ear started compensating slightly or they are just lapsing into male recovery period after 2.5 eps. If you don’t have a problem with SHAFT’s bullshit, and/or are also a big Jin Kobayashi fan, you might enjoy. Or you could just read the manga, and avoid the unnecessary lense flares and pink filters.

I’ve only caught one episode of Hatsukoi Limited, but it looks worth watching if you’re into shoujo romance.

I also tried to watch the new Mazinger Z and was just incredibly confused. I have no idea what is going on in that show. Granted I was a little sleepy at the time.

Still a few shows to look at, but nothing else is leaping out.

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This Spring Season looks terrifying

March 22, 2009 at 12:16 am (Anime)

and I really wish the follow-up were “…ly AWESOME”. But sadly, no. I’ve heard the anime industry in Japan is not doing so well these days, this could be symptom or cause, who knows. I wonder if it’s just (what seems like) a huge volume increase in anime produced. Overextension?

Anyway, the spring season. Here are a few examples of its terrors:

Natsu no Arashi
This is another manga by the School Rumble mangaka, for whom I have quite a it of respect. I’ve read the beginning of it and it looked potentially pretty good. It felt like it could make a rather enchanting anime. So at first I saw this and was excited. Unfortunately, it’s getting SHAFTed. Oh well. I might watch it anyway; it’s possible the original material will be strong enough to have a screen presence behind all the unnecessary lens flares.

Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-Hen
Again, at first I was excited because I thought this was just a Mazinger Z remake, which would be GREAT (I mean like fucking nutrigrain bar GREAT), but apparently it’s not just a remake, it’s been re-imagined so that like the mechs all represent ancient Greek gods for some reason (Zeus is Z Mazinger). For some reason this sounds like a horrible idea to me; like they’re taking quintessential old robot anime and trying to make it serious business.

So what are the good studios doing, anyway?

Well, some people think Gonzo is a good studio; some people think it is a turd. I don’t have a strong opinion about Gonzo. Well they’re doing some mahjong anime, some fantasy adventure that looks like it’s on the wrong side of Sturgeon’s Law, and a post-apocalyptic tokyo anime that sounds eerily like Jyu Oh Sei.

KyoAni is doing another 4koma adaptation. We all saw how the last one of THOSE went. But then again, there’s a huge amount of talent in this studio, so I’ll check it out.

JC Staff appears to be busy with more Hayate (meh), and another lolicon romance.

Bones looks busy with their FMA remake (isn’t this a bit young for a remake?)

Madhouse is doing a historical / Romance of the Three Kingdoms thing that has uninspiring preview art.

annnnd GAINAX appears to be absent.

Usually Spring anime season is the best of the year, and has at least a dozen things I want to watch. There are maybe three here, and sadly, I think the surest bets for entertainment might be the remasted HD Dragonball rebroadcast, or the FMA rebroadcast. Which is pretty much saying the Spring has nothing new to offer.

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Zettai Keikaku

March 2, 2009 at 2:49 am (Anime)

Death Note is probably the easiest anime to parody in history. Which doesn’t make it any less funny…









AND EAT IT.

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The World Reflected in the Eyes of a Really Long Title

February 27, 2009 at 10:30 pm (Anime)

Munto feels more like a picture book with music, or maybe an opera, than it does a T.V. Show. The pacing is all wonky and it seems like things happen without much explanation or preamble. For a show full of dynamic action, it feels really…slow.

I don’t feel great waves of anticipation over each new episode, but I watch them anyway because they’re consistently a pleasant viewing experience. I just have to remind myself that this is more about the audiovisual experience than any kind of story. The same is actually true of a lot of anime, I think; they usually don’t interest me, but KyoAni is *so* good at animation that maybe it makes a difference?

Basically, if the story to Munto were actually an interesting story, it would be 12 Kingdoms. Instead, it’s sort of like reading a synopsis of a good story in the form of captions to really pretty pictures.

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Hetalia Axis Powers

February 1, 2009 at 5:56 pm (Anime)

which, if you don’t know, is a webcomic -> manga -> anime about Boys-Love caricatures of various world powers. For a little more info, see this yahoo answers thread.

I caught the first episode of the anime, which is only really remarkable for its general construction (i.e. the joke is already over once you read a description of the show). However, it did remind me of how little I understand the cultural consciousness of other countries regarding wars they lost, particularly when we (America) were on the other side.

We are not without examples of failed military encounters in the U.S. Vietnam stands out most strongly as a place where, honestly, we were “the bad guys,” but, particularly for people of my generation, this is only understood in a very abstract sense. Definitely the entire McCarthyist movement in the U.S. is not looked upon fondly by most.

But at the end of Vietnam we just went home, and the war wasn’t exactly popular at the time. There was no subsequent occupation of America. No reconstruction of American infrastructure. I’ve heard some people suggest that World War II gave Japan cultural brain damage, which is why their microculture seems so bizarre today. Maybe Hetalia Axis Powers reinforces this idea?

What is the Japanese sentiment with regards to World War II? What about Germany, or Italy? How do you talk about these things in a history class? Is it far enough gone now, that there’s a detachment in the current generation?

The only American experience I can think of that bares any similarity is the American Civil War, where there was an occupation, a reconstruction, and a lot of cultural fallout. By American standards, this is ancient history, but it still has a presence in our modern culture. I grew up the American South, and even disregarding the crazy KKK types, there lingers a sort of fractured pride and resentment. For about half of my school years, on the national holiday honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, my state also honored Confederate generals “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E. Lee. Eventually our state legislature decided this was a bit uncouth (which I’m sure was the original intent), and created a second state holiday for Jackson and Lee. Some people still fly Confederate flags, and at least one state capital did so within my memory. The association of the confederacy with slavery makes this a touchy subject, as the conflict over civil rights and racism considerably outlasted the war.

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Maria Holic gets Shafted

January 9, 2009 at 9:24 pm (Anime)

I’m leery of Shaft as a studio, but Zetsubou Sensei was pretty good, and the premise for Maria Holic sounded potentially funny, so I figured I’d give the first episode a go.

Unfortunately Shaft can’t just make anime. They have to take anime, whip out their dongs, wrap their dongs in that anime, pump up and down until they have a nice lather of gooey semen, and then fling the messied product back at the viewer for the Money Shot.

I find Shaft’s animation and visual style somewhere between intensely distracting and vertigo inducing (I think it may literally have given me gas, in this instance). I think they have no sense of pacing or focus. I think this didn’t matter for Zetsubou Sensei, because it was a high-energy gag comic that had really fantastic source material which survived relatively well no matter what damage Shaft might have done to it.

Shaft reminds me of Takashi Murakami except without the irony.

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Akikan – Vending Machine Anime

January 4, 2009 at 5:08 pm (Anime)

The first episode of Akikan was basically 23 minutes of sexual innuendo, “BAKA”, blushing, “cover it up!”, etc. I mean that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But it’s another one of those subservience wish-fulfillment things where the girl (who, by the way, is also a can of melon soda; apparently steel cans turn into girls when you drink from them, whereas aluminum cans are just…cans) is dependent on the guy for her entire existence. He has to refill her with carbon dioxide by kissing her every morning, also she frequently asks him to drink her, even though it would end her life.

Now, to be fair, this is pretty much what was expected.

Also, the city official responsible for the Akikan program shows up at some point, tries to explain the plot, decides to try molesting the male protagonist instead (he has a large sign above his desk that says “I LIKE MEN”), then eventually gives up and leaves. Good plan.

Basically I would only use Akikan to punish friends for suggesting I “can’t find anything more groan-worthy than [whatever]…”

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Ai Kora versus 2nd wave feminism

December 19, 2008 at 2:52 pm (Anime)

EDIT (2013) This blog has been dead a long time but every once in a while I look back at what I’ve wrought.  I almost deleted this snide and ignorant post in a fit of retroactive embarrassment but it’s not like I can just erase most of the embarrassing ignorant things I’ve done in my life so it felt kind of dishonest.  Also I still think there was at least some kernel of interesting content in the fetishism of Ai Kora.

So instead I apologize for the dismissive presumptions of the original content and here is actual readings with worthwhile content not about cartoon butts:

http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Privilege_checklist

http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2012/11/a-cultural-history-of-mansplaining/264380/

http://tigerbeatdown.com/2011/10/10/my-feminism-will-be-intersectional-or-it-will-be-bullshit/

http://heathengrrl.blogspot.com/2007/02/becoming-third-wave-by-rebecca-walker.html

http://www.thefrisky.com/2013-07-11/the-soapbox-feminism-deserves-better-than-sex-negative-vs-sex-positive/

http://www.scribd.com/doc/118302450/Eating-the-Other-bell-Hooks

ORIGINAL [cringe-inducing] POST:

Based on my very loose understanding, 2nd wave feminism was about bitching all the time, whereas 3rd wave feminism is about being a bitch (but in a good way, or something).

I would expect a 2nd wave feminist to watch some porn and complain about how pornography objectifies women; I would expect a third wave feminist to watch some porn and start a porn company, eventually buying out a lot of the previously male-dominated industry.

I’m pretty sure my understanding here is, uh, flawed, but it works to preface the rest of this post (and probably to get some nice flame comments about how I’m a misogynist or something).

Ai Kora is shounen ecchi manga. The protagonist, Hachibe, has a fixation on what he considers ideal body parts (mostly). The story starts with him ending up living together with some girls who happen to possess some of his ideal parts (legs, eyes, breasts, and voice). Hachibe is normally a more-or-less regular guy, but he gains super powers (fast, strong, etc) when the people who possess his ideal parts are threatened.

For a shounen ecchi manga, it’s hilariously smart at times. Since this is Japanese manga, when Hachibe protects someone, the stereotypically correct response is for them to fall in love with him (yeah). So while several girls (and one guy) express interest in Hachibe, he claims to not understand [romantic] love. He only understands his “parts love.” A lot of the story is about Hachibe developing romantic love and finding a way to balance it with his fixation. I like how the manga is set-up in such a way that his fixation isn’t valued-down relative to romantic love. It’s not about Hachibe growing up beyond “such silly notions” or anything like that, but about expanding himself as a person, emotionally, without giving up what he considers to be an integral part of his life. In fact, there is at least one character who initially represents the opposing viewpoint (a bisexual male, who happens to possess Hachibe’s ideal ass), so this conflict is played out pretty directly and not as subtext.

So if you ever want to get into an argument about the sexual objectification of women, read Ai Kora; at the least it will give you a hilarious reference and a chance to shift the argument onto the credibility of your sources.

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More like Gundam oh oh Oh Oh! OHHHH!

December 16, 2008 at 8:11 pm (Anime)

This week: Saji “docks” his “riser” on Setsuna from behind. Setsuna’s balls drop (pictured).

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