Tis the season to assault genre conventions

April 28, 2006 at 4:38 pm (Anime)

Man, this season is great. Unfortunately it’s great in ways that require a lot of context, because my three favorite shows this season are all appealing to me, at least in part (Nana is just a great story) becuase I’m kind of tired of certain anime genre’s overused conventions.

Mah Big Three are: Nana (The anti-virgin ballad), Ouran High School Host Club (The hard-gay rabu-rabu comedy, without actual gay, or rabu-rabu, though there is comedy), and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (The deconstructionist hyper-ironic superflat opus).


It’s not a tumor!

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Jyu oh sei, 01

April 27, 2006 at 2:51 am (Anime)

Alright, this makes either 10 or 11 shows I’m watching right now; I’ve sort of of lost count. There are inevitable Lord of the Flies comparisons. It’s airing in the Noitamina time slot, but I don’t actually know if Noitamina is still, like, in existance. I can see some female targetting here, but of the more traditional type; details after the cut.

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Black Lagoon, 02

April 24, 2006 at 3:01 am (Anime)

Alright, gotta catch up on some other work, so nothing extensive here, but Black Lagoon is officially super awesome.

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That other Haruhi Show

April 21, 2006 at 7:17 am (Anime)

I’m really glad Ouran High School Host Club is getting a Solar fansub. That means all three of my favorite shows of this season (This, Nana, and the Haruhi SuzuMouseClub TV Show) have really good subbers behind them (Solar, Live-eviL, and a.f.k respectively). I’m pretty happy with any sub that isn’t really really bad, since I don’t speak Japanese, but there are times when I can tell an idiom isn’t translating properly (like when Tamaki is talking about water and beautiful men).

Anyway, I probably won’t write any more reactions for this show. It’s good. It’s really really really funny. But I don’t know that I will really ever have much more to say about it. This covers my response after episodes one through three.


Big Gay Ben

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Utafurrirumono, 01-02

April 20, 2006 at 7:23 am (Anime)

Apparently Utawarerumono is based on some furry eroge. If I’d known this before I watched it, I might not have watched it. It’s not that I have anything against furry eroge or whatever, it’s just that the three prior experiences I’ve had with anime based on eroge were all very short-lived due to immense boredom. Air I think I sat through 1.5 episodes of before turning it off. Canvas 2 would have been less, except it turned up as a random sampler at CWRU AnSoc. FSN I think I made it through maybe five minutes before stopping it in disgust. Sooooo boring. But this piece of shit is going to be the second instance of a show destroying a useful metric I’ve had for dismissing anime without watching them (Mai Hime destroyed the No-tv-anime-scored-by-Kajiura-Yuki-just-get-the-OST-instead rule).


Eroruu

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Kintama, 01-02

April 20, 2006 at 1:34 am (Anime)

Gintama appears to be Excel in the future with samurai, or something. I didn’t exactly follow all of what was happening (translation felt a little dodgey in places), but since this is more meta-humor and slapstick (i.e. Excel, FLCL) than situation comedy, I didn’t particularly care.

I didn’t really think it was that funny over-all, but there were some amusing bits. Breakdown of said bits follows.

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The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, 03

April 19, 2006 at 3:54 am (Anime)

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this episode. It continues to have amazing animation. I laughed a few times, but didn’t get terribly excited. It almost felt like an addendum to episode two. Fortunately it looks like things will pick up again in the next episode.


Haruharu Haruhi. She just needs a guitar and a Vespa.

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The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, 01: Immersion Tactics

April 18, 2006 at 3:02 am (Analysis, Anime, Theory)

Immersion. It’s not just for saving the damned. Every fucking book lover in the world, and one blind starship engineer harp on about how books will take you to new and fantastic worlds. If a text doesn’t somehow steal my focus from the world around me, then I tend to become rapidly bored with it. Immersion isn’t the only way to engage a reader, but it is an important one. In multi-player (PnP, mmo, or larp) role-playing games, the issue of immersion is often significant, because it is so easy to shatter. I remember one pick-up group I joined playing Dungeons and Dragons online, where the team-leader refused to respond to modern English slang (“What does ‘yo’ mean?”), and tried to insist people precede every sentence with “ye” or “lo!” or “Behold!” or some shit like that. Alright, he was retarded, and he had a very silly concept of appropriate in-character language, but I at least understood his consternation. It’s sort of challenging to pretend you’re Gandalf the Grey if Frodo keeps saying things like “WTF. I PWND THIS RING QUEST n00b! Balr0g’d!”. While creating a truly immersive experience is a challenge, there is some basic requisite consistency necessary to bring the viewer / reader / player into the world of the text at all. This, I think, is why breaking the 4th wall is such dodgy business: it usually wrecks immersion.

John The Baptist
Boo! I’m John the Baptist!*

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Enter the Host, cont.

April 15, 2006 at 11:36 pm (Meta)

The crowd is captured. For this evening, they will move with their host’s words. They will laugh when he jokes, and weep when he sighs. The host continues his introduction, but the performance has already begun.

“My life began in the wilds of Borneo, twenty-two years ago, during Monsoon season, already an orphan. Just as I escaped her womb, lightning struck my mother killing her instantly. My father I did not meet until years later. The storm destroyed the entire area, yet somehow I survived. Fortunately my saviors arrived in haste, visitors from a far away galaxy, they bore me up into the cosmos, and gave to me a childhood full of wonder and fantasy. They gave to me a consciousness of culture, and of the mind. We sailed through the stars on a didactic adventure until I was a hot-blooded youth, seventeen years old, with a burning desire to return home.

“I sought my father in America, and found him, but we had few words to exchange. I began to realize that I’d never really known this, the world of my birth. Many of its customs seemed strange, though I was no stranger to strange custom. I decided to entertain four years at a University in America; there I could gather a better understanding of this world, while living in a place likely to be less conscious of my then awkward habits. I found myself in an artful world, that only in the past few decades had begun to dispense with needlessly rigid creative architectures in favor of a rawer inspiration. I come here, this night, to share with you my reflections. Though I be young and incomplete in my knowledge of the greater context of these affairs, I hope you will find them, if not insightful, then, at the least, entertaining.”

The host bows, and the crowd applauds.

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Enter the Host

April 15, 2006 at 4:47 pm (Meta)

Eventually I will make a fancy about page, but why not, for now, a more…personal introduction.

*waddles up to microphone wearing cross-play Princess Leia outfit that shows off his pop gut and makes young children turn away in terror*

“Hiii, mina-san! I’m Seth-san, but you can call me Seth. I’m very VERY happy to be here. I’m single, and my three sizes are–”

Twelve men in black masks descend from the sky on ropes of infinite strength, catching the man at the microphone in a large burlap sack, and morphing his ecstatic introduction into muffled cries. There is smoke and the sound of firecrackers. The smoke clears and the popping ceases; the military men are gone, as is the sacked narrator, and the microphone. The entire space goes silent for near on a minute. In the sky, afternoon is melting into evening. A wind slowly picks up, making waves in the immense curtains on stage. The audience collectively shivers, unprepared for the influx, as the wind whips through them becoming violent. Hats fly off, and well-dressed women yelp. Suddenly the entire curtain flies into the air, lifted by this omega draft, revealing not rows of props, actors, and equipment, but an immense red and black swirling portal that stretches across the entire width and height the curtains occupied moments ago. From this, a single carnation falls onto the stage, barely visible to those in the crowd. And then a man steps through, dropping to retrieve this flower without breaking his stride. He stands six feet tall, dressed in a top-hat, suit, and cape that are the black and red of the portal from which he emerged. Straight black hair descends from his hat to form a collar around the nape of his neck. He wears white gloves, a spotless complexion, and a playful smile.

This man approaches the front of the stage, fitting the carnation into the pocket of his shirt as he walks. Upon reaching the front, he stops, pitches a hand into the air, and snaps his fingers with a flourish. The curtain falls behind him, and the violent wind dies with such an immediancy that the air cracks in response, echoing the snap of the well-dressed man’s fingers.

He speaks without the need for a microphone.

“Good evening everyone. I apologize for the delay. I will be your host for the show tonight.”

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