Lucky Star 12 – Shameless Self Promotion

June 30, 2007 at 3:22 pm (Anime)

After episode 10, Lucky Star has returned to being pretty marginal. Also the level of self-promotion from Kyoto Animation is annoying the crap out of me. But the show is sort of marketed toward their fan-cult, so I guess it makes sense. The Animate dude from episode 10 reappeared here, but his novelty has sort of worn off. The only other thing I noticed was that, like, every single extra at the convention was voiced by Gendou Fumihiko Tachiki, which was kind of…weird. I’m running out of new and different things to complain about (thus the lack of an episode 11 entry), so I may not post any more of these.

Btw, I finally got to see Paprika. I might have a more coherent opinion about it if I hadn’t been too busy drooling over the visuals to form conscious thoughts.

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How will Hollywood capitalize on the rising popularity of manga in the U.S.?

June 21, 2007 at 6:34 pm (manga, market, Movies)

The best thing to come out of that Nymphet brouhaha is that Jason DeAngelis now writes a weekly column about being a manga publisher. In the most recent one he talks about how Hollywood feels that Manga are the next Comic Books.

Starting, I think, with the X-Men movie in 2000, there have been a long string of high-budget motion pictures based on popular American comic books. According to Boxoffice.com, two of the top ten most successful (in terms of gross ticket sales) movies this year are based on comic books: Spiderman 3 (#1), and 300 (#5). Those are good examples because they show the two major things that are going on here.

Spiderman is iconic in the U.S. The studio did not have to explain what the hell this “Spiderman” thing was when marketing it. The two most iconic super hero comic book characters are Superman and Batman, and they’ve both had movie franchises for quite some time. Spiderman is probably the next most recognizable after those two. I would be surprised if you could find many people in my generation who had not at least heard of Spiderman *before* the first movie was released. So with big titles like Spiderman and X-Men, there is this element of name-recognition marketing going on.

300, on the otherhand, is not a comic book title that is very well known in the public. But by the time 300 came out, producers had already discovered the benefits of mining comic books for movie material, regardless of their followings. Look at Sin City: from what I understand, there are very close to zero changes from the actual Sin City books used for the movie, aside from adding the moving actors; they used it as script and storyboard without modification. DeAngelis confirms this in his column:

…Hollywood just loves “source material.” Not only do they adore that particular buzzword, but it’s just so much easier to “fast track” and “green light” a project if it’s based on something visual like a graphic novel or manga.

So it looks like Hollywood producers are making a lot of comic book adaptations for one of the same reason anime studios make a lot of manga adaptations: It’s EASY.

So what about manga-adaptations for Hollywood movies? Well, they have that same advantage of being visual media. I don’t think licensing will be that much of an issue. I imagine the Japanese property holders would be ecstatic to sell live-action movie rights to Hollywood; it’s probably far more profitable than selling them to a Japanese studio. DeAngelis thinks that the major challenge is how serialized popular action manga (like the stuff in Jump) are, i.e. their lack of major “plot”; I don’t honestly see this as an issue, because super-hero comic books have the same problem EVEN WORSE; it’s not that hard to scrape together a major arc into a movie, and Hollywood is all about multi-picture franchises these days anyway.

I think the biggest issue is cultural translation. It is my understanding that the biggest demographic of manga consumers in the U.S. are teenage girls. Obviously the most popular titles are things like Naruto, Bleach, and Death Note. Those three…I don’t see an issue. However, if the rest of the market is riding on shoujo romance titles (maybe it’s not?) then I think Hollywood will have a hard time taking advantage of it. The romances are just too…Japanese. Does Kare Kano even make sense if you make all the characters American? On the flip side, can they sell a movie where the culture is not translated? Where the characters are Japanese? It seems like doing the cultural translation is so much effort it negates the benefits of free storyboarding, but not doing it leaves you with a movie that is almost impossible to make in the U.S. Maybe they would look at contracting a Japanese studio for the acting (my opinion of the Japanese acting talent pool is…not high). This is an interesting thought, but I think to be financially successful, an adaptation like this will have to appeal to a much broader American audience than the manga-consuming demographic. But since romances are largely wish-fulfillment, the problem of “romantic” not translating that well cross-culturally is large.

Maybe some romances are less of an issue. I could almost see an American KGNE movie. The drama there translates quite readily into an American mindset, and it is not tied as heavily to the Japanese Highschool environment. The characters would probably have to change somewhat, raising a pointless outcry from fanboys. But then…KGNE isn’t manga (or is there one?), so maybe it doesn’t count. All I know is I will LOL for a week the first time I see a major Hollywood picture adapted from eroge.

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LOL Subs Please?

June 16, 2007 at 10:45 pm (Anime)

It’s an ad for Animate, I guess. Well, now I know where that Lucky Star scene came from.

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Lucky Star 10 – Comedy

June 12, 2007 at 9:32 pm (Anime)

This episode didn’t suck.

Again, beer played a part, yet this was definitely the best least worst Lucky Star episode to date. I even took screen shots. Since, you know, there were things to take screen shots of.

There are four major items of note:

1. All scenes with Tsukasa + cellphone = funny.

This scene was about as long as the chococornet scene in episode one, but was actually funny. Though perhaps Tampopo simply does not leave enough room in my heart for any other food-related humor.

2. Epic 90-second anime store scene.

I don’t know what (if anything) this was directly parodying, but it was a reminder that LOL YES WE KNOW HOW TO ANIME. Even if you (reasonably) hate Lucky Star, you might want to check out this scene (starts at about 7:25) just because it’s a cool little segment of animation. Also, I could not get a satisfyingly representative screen-cap. =\ Also I get excited by people shouting phrases like “DENSETSU NO SHOUJO”.

3. Konata’s Father.

Konata’s father has trouble with the reality-eroge divide.

4. Tsundere Rant!

I am at this point sufficiently tired of Lucky Channel that I almost skipped past it, but it was saved by being about 90% the dude ranting about how “tsundere” has developed a meaning beyond its original, and how he considers this inappropriate. He wants to take it back (just like in Clerks 2!), and entreats the viewers to come up with a more appropriate term for characters like Kagami. Also, the raving weeaboos will be glad to note that this time a.f.k. left “tsundere” untranslated, rather than substituting “bipolar”.


I lold

Basically, this episode is sort of what I expected Lucky Star was going to be like before it began airing. Sort of.

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Chinese Sailing Vessels

June 11, 2007 at 1:11 am (Etc)

This is probably old news, but I hadn’t come across them before I found them tonight on Cardcaptor’s Blog

Apparently Rie Tanaka has a radio show, but more interestingly apparently sometimes she plays Suigintou on it…and answers letters. It’s pretty funny, even if it’s basically the same gag in repitition:

Letter: “Gin-san, I have trouble tying my shoes properly. What can I do?”
Suigintou: “…JUNK NI SHITEGARU!”

Clips embedded under the cut

Read the rest of this entry »

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WTB: Ma Ho shoujo

June 10, 2007 at 2:41 pm (Anime)

This is sort of a rambling post. The title comes from something I read (probably on Wikipedia) about Nanoha being nicknamed with that pun, which is like Demon Cannon Girl or something, due to her IMMENSE BEAM ATTACKS.


YES. MY MASTER.

Though Nanoha StrikerS has at least started to have some stuff happen, it is still not really what I was hoping for. I am sticking on it because it seems like it will probably pick up in the second half. I thought maybe I was crazy about Nanoha in general though, so I went back and watched the first two or three episodes of As, and I’m not crazy. The animation was waaaay better, and it was about as action-packed as I recalled. This got me pining for a full rewatch. Except I decided if I’m going to do that I might as well watch the first season, since I haven’t even seen that before.

Though it is not nearly as exciting as A’s, I like the first season of Nanoha alright (I have four episodes left to watch). It’s a lot more like a “classic” magical girl anime (for values of classic equal to CCS, Precure, etc.) except it’s a bit darker and has more fan service. It is a good appetizer for As, I think. I also really like the animation. It doesn’t do anything too fancy, but it’s fluid and does really really excellent framing and perspectives. It also makes StrikerS look even worse to me, because now I know As wasn’t some weird exception in terms of production value.

One of the anime I AM following with eager anticipation each week is Lovely Complex, which is really great if you like romance anime. The comedy is fairly light, but the characters are, IMO, infectuously likeable. The problem then becomes that I have to wait a whole week between episodes, and the plot progresses quite slowly, because, well, it’s an anime high school romance; they all have that problem. So. I’ve been looking for other stuff to consume.

First I sat in Borders and read a bunch of Kare Kano manga. I have seen the anime…twice I think. I remember liking it, but I think I prefer the manga. Going back and watching the anime, the animation was obviously on a really cheap budget, and the heavy use of still-frames bugs me. I can’t fault GAINAX too much for it, because Anno did pretty well with a small budget. I was annoyed when I found out the R2 DVDs had some parts that weren’t in the U.S. ones (also not in the original broadcast, so probably not the U.S. licensors’ fault), particularly because the only subs I could find for the R2s were…ungood. I’m not sure what all is different, but I know the climactic (LOL SPOILERS) scene in episode 18 is different. I really really like the R2 version. The original one I had always found sort of confusing (until I read the manga at least); like it certainly seemed implied that there was boning, but it wasn’t 100% clear just what was happening. The R2 version on the other hand I thought was very excellent shot. It was not very explicit at all. The difference is slight in magnitude, but it’s like Bladerunner; I felt it made a big impact. Basically you see some clothes removed, and them laying naked on top of eachother, and Yukino sorta gasps/moans twice. But the way it merges with the BGM and then fades into the dreamy childhood scene is really sweet and poignant, and I thought it made a vastly superior climax (lol at double-meanings) to the other version. That was Anno’s last episode, but while everyone else on the internets seemed to hate the weird shit they did with the animation after that, I found it a lot less boring. I liked the paper-cutouts in ep19 a lot. I don’t know that they really added much to the story, but they were more fun to watch than the regular style, and didn’t really interfere.


Too hot for TV?

Now I’m trying to watch Ai Yori Aoshi, but I don’t think I’m going to get much further. It has some hardcore wish-fulfillment going on. Where this girl who has all the “traditional” Japanese housewife traits just shows up and starts Mac’n blushing. Within that context, it seems to be doing a pretty good job. I just have a serious beef with this context, because the whole subservient woman thing annoys me immensely. On the plus side though, Aoi is voiced by Ayako Kawasumi, who rocks.


Jam it in, kudosai

This complaint, though, sort of brings up one of the things I like about Lovely Complex: Risa. Risa has a much different image than these subserviant-maid-women. She’s not really tsundere in the traditional sense; though she does try to suppress her feelings, it is more with laughter and fun than with violence or aloofness. By contrast to traditional romance-girls, I end up liking her even more. She is vulnerable, but not *weak*, and she doesn’t define herself entirely through the dude she wants. Also the supporting cast is good, but we need more of that trap. Traps are hilarious.

Ramble end. Please send LOAD CARTRIDGE.

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Lucky Star 09 – Sleep Deprivation

June 5, 2007 at 10:03 pm (Anime)

I think this episode was (probably by default) a lot better than 08, but I’m not really sure. See, I’m starting full-time job tomorrow and moving from a get-up-whenever sleep schedule to an 8-5 schedule is…hard. So I’m sort of incredibly tired right now. About the only thing to pierce through my languid haze were the words “cake buffet”.

C…C…Cake Buffet?! Such a thing exists? This is perhaps the most beautifully conceived idea in the history of man. I WANT ONE. NOW. DO WANT. Stupid Cleveland.

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