Sunday, June 29, 2014

Spring 2014 Season wrap-up

How about instead of lamenting my lack of writing, I just get right into it?

As another anime season comes to a close, I figured I would share with you all my impressions of what was presented to us, ne? As with every season, there are titles that surprised me, both positively and negatively; shows that disappointed me; music that stuck in my head; standard tropes that worked and didn't; overall fantasticness and cringe worthy moments. Let me go over what I felt were the highlights and the low lights.

This time around, let me go over the let downs, and the next entry will cover the rest.

Shows I stopped watching within the first couple of episodes, and wonder why I started

Is the Order a Rabbit?
As cute as this show is, it is essentially another one of those moe sleepers with no action. We've already had K-on, folks, placing it in a German coffee shop where there just HAPPEN to be a shit tonne of folks who HAPPEN to speak fluent Japanese and just HAPPEN to have the same cultural habits... ugh. If you like cute girls who look far younger than their age serving coffee and being clumsy, then feel free to watch. I will pass, thank you very much.

Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara (If Her Flag Breaks)
A standard boarding school harem with a supernatural twist. I lasted five episodes, then the harem part just started to develop too quickly. The extremes of the story also kind of detracted from the plot and felt really gratuitous. I was hoping for something similar to the recent Henneko (Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat), but was disappointed. It just felt like it was trying too hard to be too many things. Pass.

Riddle Story of the Devil
Apparently this show is about a classroom full of teenage girl assassins whose target is another student in the class. I say apparently, because despite giving it three tries at different times, I could not stay awake through even the first episode. If someone has watched it, and it was good, please let me know why, and maybe I'll give it another go. Or I might just save it for those nights I can't get to sleep...

Blade and Soul
Been there. Seen that. Two episodes in and I just kept thinking those two phrases over and over again. Done.

Shows I was looking forward to that didn't live up to expectations

Dai Shogun Great Revolution
I am actually a fan of these overly shonen/seinen shows with mecha, samurai, ninjas, and lots of fan service. I found the premise promising, considering the altered Edo period, familiar historical names getting bounced around, manly men and curvy women piloting mystical mechs, and a little of the harem aspect. However, I seem to have slept through over half of the season. I couldn't tell who was attacking behind the revolving femme fatales, and I couldn't tell who I was supposed to be rooting for as the love interest. It all seemed a bit convoluted, which is a real shame. I had high hopes. I might finish it (as in, go back and stay awake while watching it), but only might.

Mekakucity Actors
From the brilliant mind who brought us the Bakemonogatari series this one had a lot of hype. An original story about a group of super-powered shut-ins who all seem to be linked to this one girl who died and her father. The visuals, as to be expected, are fantastic. The play with colour is well done, and the story seems pretty decent... and I'm sure I'll finish it sometime... maybe soon... but it just...
... yeah...
Yeah. I don't know what it is, but it just isn't grabbing me. Maybe there are too many characters getting shoved into too few episodes? Maybe the timing is weird? I mean, the pacing is very odd, and the bouncing back and forth between past and present feels disjointed.

Shows that were nothing more than what you'd expect

La corda d'oro - Blue Sky
The third installment in the "corda d'oro" dating sim adaptation. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the show. The music was fantastic, and kudos to the instrumentalists they got to play the pieces specifically for the show. The voice acting - for the most part - was really good. Fukuyama Jun, Miyano Mamoru, and Kionishi Katsuyuki are some of my faves, and they didn't disappoint. The boys were good looking and there was plenty of BL undertones ripe for shipping. But, that's all it was. Nothing that made it stand out, nothing above and beyond, nothing unexpected. Also, the lead sieyuu - Takagi Reiko - was just horrible. An overly high pitched voice to make her sound more helpless, timid and young, with no real emotion portrayed. There was a real chance there - the story had potential, especially for her, and I felt like she could have done something amazing with it.

Worst OP:
Kamigami no Asobi - Loved the show, and the ED was awesome, but the opening never really brought it together.
Nanana's Buried Treasure - Didn't feel like it fit the show at all. Also, the beginning is the only thing that sticks in my brain and it is somewhat abrasive.

Worst ED:
The World is Still Beautiful - Again, loved the show. The ED was just kind of trite and boring.

Okay, so that's it for the downers. Next time, we go over the stuff you should not have missed! And if you did, you should go and watch it as soon as you get the chance!

Until then, ja ne!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Gomen nasai! Again!

Wow. I mean, wow. Over a year, eh? This must have been one messed up year! (It was, I will not go into details.)

This is another one of those posts to let you know that I will be updating soon with love from Anime North 2013, a whole bunch of squee goodness, and my impressions on this season's offerings from Japan! Not all at once... I must take baby steps...

Until the next (sooner than later) time!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Anime North 2012 - Return of the Otaku!

OMG, where to start! God, I hardly even remember what I did first!

Wait, that’s not true… the first thing I did was go and register at the media office to get my pass. It was here that I once again got to meet up and see Louisa and Charlie from last year. That’s right – Charlie!! That Charlie!! You guys know Charlie, right? The one who got me hopelessly hooked on One Piece.

Well, he once again earned a place in my writing, since he moved heaven and earth to get me an interview with J. Michael Tatum!!!! Who is J. Michael Tatum, you ask? Well, he is a prolific voice actor from Texas, having voiced such iconic characters as Kyoya Ootori from Ouran High School Host Club, Sebastian Michaelis (the butler) from Black Butler, and – my personal favourite – Doumeki from xxxHolic!!! I have made my love of Doumeki very clear in this blog space before, so I’m sure at this point you can imagine how excited I was!

Okay, I have to slow down. I’m using way too many exclamation points.

Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Breathe in…

Nope, can’t hold it in:

These, of course, were just some of the main highlights. I also got to go to a host club, of sorts, got to see Sailor Moon Battle Chess, see some amazing Cosplayers, watch some anime I haven’t purchased yet, learn about the start of the convention and the ins and outs of how it works, learn about the style and culture of actual male hosts in Japan, and just enjoymyself surrounded by fellow otaku!

Needless to say, it was a packed weekend, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I will retell one story from the Masquerade, witnessed by one of my travelling companions and photographers.

First, a quick description of what the masquerade is, for those who don’t know. For all of the convention’s participants who dress up in cosplay, there is a sort of talent show/fashion show where they can compete for the best costume. You have to sign up ahead of time to participate, and you have to get your tickets as a spectator ahead of time as well. This is because it is the most popular event at the convention – by a long shot.

So, this year, one of the entries was a pair dressed as Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask, dancing a waltz as the well-known piano theme played. All of a sudden, there were some scratches as the music was interrupted, and a voice came over the system. It was a male voice, saying: “My partner doesn’t know about this, but I actually have another reason for being here. I’m here to ask her to marry me.” He then gets down on one knee and pulls out a ring.

This, my lovely readers, is Otaku love. The audience went wild, Sailor Moon went into hyper-embarrassment-mode, and she also said yes. I wish I had been there, but I’m glad I at least got to hear the story.

In the next couple of weeks I’ll be bringing you other stories about the con, and links to articles about my interview with J. Michael Tatum, the resurgence of Sailor Moon, and maybe even about Cosplay culture in general.

Let me know if there is anything else you guys want to hear about!
Until then,
Jya ne!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

AN Mania!!

Hello folks!

Guess where I am right now? I'm in a hotel in Toronto, getting ready for the second big day of Anime North!!


Yeah, as you can see, I'm a bit pumped. Needless to say, I'm going to make sure to report all about it to you guys soon. I know it's been a while, but I am bursting with energy! Ready to write! Verbosim ad nauseum!

Yes. Well. There you have it. I will be back soon with tales of adventures in Toronto!

Jya ne!

Update: Okay. So, I got my interview with J. Michael Tatum and it went SO WELL!!! It was AWESOME! I can't wait to tell you guys about it!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Why I Stopped Reading "Bleach"

I want to take a quick pause from my AMAZING lists of faves in order to address a serious issue: the beating of the dead horse know at Bleach.

**Spoiler alert! If you are watching/reading Bleach and want to continue doing so, please do not read this post!***

Okay, so I really liked Bleach. Like, REALLY liked it, and even have an entire shelf dedicated to some figurines (mmmm... Renji...).  I started reading ahead online and got caught up with the whole story. It became part of my weekly routine, since Naruto, One Piece  and Bleach all had chapters released on Tuesdays. I had a full docket! I was loving the Hueco Mundo arc, the evil-ness of Aizen, the creepiness of Gin, and the evolution of Ichigo. I loved his full-on Hollow state! I loved how he and his papa fought together! I was a little put off by Gin's true intentions... (had me fooled, for sure).

Needless to say, the final fight between Ichigo and Aizen was epic! It was well written, beautifully drawn, and had me on the edge of my seat! I immediately went to see if the anime had caught up yet and watched the fight unfold in front of me!

It was fantastic.

That is where the series should've ended.

But didn't.

The next chapter takes place after the magical "two and a half year gap" that Shonen Jump top series like to take in order to refresh. Naruto did it, One Piece did it, and Bleach did it. Big difference? Two of the three did not come to a natural ending prior to the time-skip! One of them did! Guess which one!?!?!

I would've been okay with this were it not for a few things:

  1. The art style felt completely different. Everything seemed shinier, and the female characters seemed poutier and... and something, but I can't put my finger on it. It's like by trying to make them look older, Kubo sensei tried to to make them sexier. I don't think he was successful in this endeavor, at least in my personal opinion.
  2. Everyone else still had their powers, and just tip-toed around Ichigo who had lost all of his Shinigami powers. Didn't like that. I think the characters would be aware that Ichigo is stronger than that.
  3. Nothing about how Isshin (Kurosaki-Dad) was a Shinigami. There seems to be some behind the scenes stuff that goes on, but it isn't done with enough detail, and we, the audience is left with this whole "WTF?" feeling.
  4. Chad's powers revealed to be this "Fullbring" garbage. There was allusion at one point early on that, like Orihime, Chad's powers were partly thanks to Ichigo unconsciously sharing his power with those close to him. At least that's what I got from it. Either way, I didn't like this whole "Fullbring" stuff from the get-go. Does Ichigo have access to EVERY SINGLE KIND OF MYSTICAL POWER OUT THERE??? FOR REAL??

I think I got my point across. I did, however, read the entire "X-cutioner" arc. I didn't even like how that ended. Everyone gave a bit of their shinigami powers to Ichigo so that he could somehow be more bad-ass than before? Nope. Don't like it.

After that arc ended, Kubo sensei went on a short month-long haitus, and then started what has been titled as "The final arc!" And do you want to know how much I care?

Not. One. Bit.

How much of it am I going to read?

Not. One. Bit.
I'm done.

If you're big into the story right now, take my advice and stop at the natural conclusion to the story. The rest just feels forced. In fact, that might very well be the case! If it is, I feel sorry for Kubo sensei having to butcher his amazing story like that. It's just... it's just sad, really.

Okay, rant: over.
Jya ne!