Archive for July, 2008

As mentioned pretty much everywhere.

Apparently the title will be Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha – The MOVIE 1st. The implications are fuelling rampant speculations all over the anime blogosphere even as we speak.

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From the CoH forums.

It's the third time in recent memory on the City of Heroes official boards that I've come across a "recommend an anime to me" thread, and once again I find myself stumped.

There's a sort of balance one has to achieve when recommending an anime to someone who's not quite convinced that they should be spending their Copious Free Time watching it. Too enthusiastic, and we may well end up putting them off. Too many caveats, and it'll sound like we're asking them to watch something we're not even sure is good.

And for someone like me, who has been in Deep Fandom for over a dozen years, there is always the risk of alienating the supplicant by sheer unsolicited geekiness. I may wax eloquent on the virtues of the meganekko, and how the twintails on a character marks her as a tsundere with a propensity for zettai ryouiki, while the nekomimi dojikko speaking in kansai-ben is clearly quite moe, because snorfle garumphagus rethornicum, for all the sense I appear to be making to someone unfamiliar with the terms.

Were I to describe the appeal of Pani Poni Dash to the Casual Fan, I will effectively be speaking in gibbering infernal tongues that drive mere mortals mad. Or in C++, which amounts to the same thing.

There are always the "safe" anime to recommend, which seem to have a wide appeal. Cowboy Bebop is bandied about often. Evangelion, Elfen Lied, Ghost in the Shell. The field appears dominated by Fighting Action or Deep Serious Contemplation, which strikes me somewhat as an attempt to introduce anime as something that is Mature and For Thinking People. And not just for people who can Think, but people who can Think and look impressive while doing so. Something you can write a thesis about, possibly.

On the other side, we have the Shounen Action approach: Rurouni Kenshin and Trigun for the classics (making me feel at least a little old), Bleach and Naruto (admittedly, most of the Naruto recommendations specifically mention Shippuden or something) for the more recent series. There's probably a reason why these shows are particularly popular, but I haven't found the common factor yet. (For example, I like Rurouni Kenshin, but dislike Bleach. So it goes.)

And I am left with a stupendous list of anime which I'd like to recommend, but which I am painfully aware are considered at least somewhat niche. I could hold up Card Captor Sakura as my all-time favourite, but I then have to admit that it is technically aimed at little girls, albeit with a sizeable bonus for older viewers. (Also, it's out of print.) I could mention The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, except that to really appreciate the humour, one has to be passingly familiar with certain anime tropes, or the reason Haruhi forcibly recruits Mikuru into the SOS Brigade might turn out to be incomprehensible. And if one isn't really interested in romantic dramas, then KyoAni's Key adaptations oeuvre is pretty much out of the running.

Gods forbid I even think about Lucky Star or, as mentioned, Pani Poni Dash. I suppose Dokkoida isn't that obscure to the average viewer, or perhaps Sgt. Frog (aka Keroro Gunsou), but the element of risk remains.

I should probably compile a list of "safe" anime to recommend whenever the topic comes up. Obviously only titles licenced in R1 are valid, since not everyone is willing to deal with all the issues inherent in fansubs. (And for the most part, R2s probably won't be of much help.) Despite what I mentioned earlier, I'd still throw in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya into the pile, since one can look at the pretty animation, if nothing else. And then there's Read or Die for the superheroic feel, this being the City of Heroes forums. Card Captor Sakura gets mentioned for those looking for something kid-friendly, which leads to Princess Tutu. If they're interested in slightly more action of the tournament variety, Angelic Layer might be a good bet. For something magical girl but with a little more bite, Lyrical Nanoha (as I'm told Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha is being marketed in R1). Fantasy-wise, Slayers (specifically Slayers NEXT) is almost always welcome. Soft science fiction would suggest Stellvia, slice of life brings up Azumanga Daioh.

And if they express even the tiniest hint of interest in high school romantic comedies, oh, what fun we shall have.

About the point I would have to bow out of the discussion is if it turns to talk of dark (invariably with the additions of "bloody" and "gory") anime, or of Mecha. My interest in such may be measured with negative scientific notation, much less my experience and knowledge.

Nevertheless, the recommendation of anime to another sentient being remains, as always, a black art, based largely on gut feeling, and mechanically quantum: after all, despite known tastes and suspicions, nobody knows if they'll love or loathe an anime, until they actually watch it.

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Hidamari Sketch x365 opening.

Another week, another desperate attempt to come up with something to talk about on this blog of increasingly embarrassing time-wastage. Well, it's not like the blog hasn't been thoroughly embarrassing for all concerned anyway, since I've never made a secret of the inherent Ogling of Cute Girls which remains, to this day, the blog's raison d'etre.

Listening to the new Hidamari Sketch x365 opening reminds me once again how much I loved "Sketch Switch", the first season's opening. I think I first realized what made it so addictive when I listened to the Lantis Nico Nico Medley: the song is great for just belting out without worrying about the minor details like keeping in tune, like the much-remixed "Koi no Mikuru Densetsu". Every time I hear the kumikyoku's robo-voice counting down to the anticipated "ikimasu!", I can't help but grin and sing along.

"Hatena de Wasshoi" is no different; I can sing along to "nobi nobi nobi nobi nonbiri to" without fear of censure, at least if I do it quietly enough that the neighbours don't complain. The song itself even exhorts you "toriaezu WASSHOI de~su", to shout it loud and proud. Try it out; it's actually pretty fun.

As for the show itself, it places itself in the unique position of something I'm watching and liking, and yet have nothing to say about it. It's the further tales of four girls in an art school dormitory. There is nothing more that needs to be detailed, except perhaps a reaffirmation of the proclamation that Oh God, Yoshinoya-sensei Is Hot.

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Nanoha the Nurse.

On the upside, my fever has gone down. On the downside, my whole body aches for no discernable reason, like a full-body carpal. I do not think anyone really wants to witness the somewhat unique chains of logic which come unbidden to my drug-addled mind.

Hopefully I shall be back at full vocabulary capacity by next week. In the meantime, to prevent this from being a mere litany of complaints, have a picture of Magical Nurse Lyrical Nanoha, the ultimate in Kill Or Cure.

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From that Nanoha StrikerS Lucky Star parody.

It requires a bit of discipline, or at least a healthy amount of guilt, in order to stick to even the vaguest schedule for blogging. Best-laid plans and all that, however, expecially when one is laid low by Real Life and illness, thus reducing the available time for Deep Thoughts about anime. I could regurgitate yet another Nanoha GamerS comic, or a quick one-liner with regards to some new facet of the Summer Season in the 2008th Year of our Lord and Saviour Sephiroth the Pretty, but that feels a bit like cheating. So I'll shift one square to something in the general proximity of anime in general, even if it is not exactly blogging about anime as much as blogging about stuff related to anime.

In this case, anime fanfiction. Yes, again.

I'm still working on several pieces of fanfiction at the same time, in an astonishing display of multitasking that probably would be more impressive if it weren't about sock-puppeting fictional characters owned by other people into some semblance of plot and drama. One of these stories is, as has been mentioned before (and which I am too lazy to link to), something set in the universe, nay, multiverse of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, post-season three. I have a large and unfeasibly detailed timeline of events which spans one thousand and five hundred years, albeit clustered with specific dates in the periods where the stories actually take place. The cast stretches to, if not thousands, then at least Far Too Many to be comfortably introduced without the reader feeling like they've stumbled onto a Baby Picture conversation. (You know the type.)

This is considered par for the ficwriting course for me. What struck me hard enough to trigger a seed of blog post inspiration, and this is not very hard at all, was the assertion that since I have so many original characters, this was no longer a work of fanfiction, but original fiction instead.

I can, with some effort, understand the claim: after all, for the most part, fanfic readers wish to read about the canon characters, rather than the diseased creations of an amateur author's fevered imagination. What they want the canon characters to do is best left for another discussion, especially since I'm trying to keep this blog at least somewhat family-friendly. The gist is that since the canon characters take something of a backseat to the action in the fanfic, it is no longer worthy of that "fanfic" label. What it is to be called now is anyone's guess.

And yet, I cannot quite tell the story I wish to tell without both using the world of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, as well as relegating the canon characters to the sidelines, at the same time. This is not for lack of trying, but just that the story requires several character types who do not appear in a major capacity in the canon. In fact, the only one who qualifies is Yuuno, who was carefully set aside to the relegation bench from a large part of StrikerS, possibly due to possession of a Y chromosome.

The Nanoha-verse is large, varied, intriguing, and almost criminally unexplored. There is a great deal of background information in the setting that we simply Do Not Know, a limitation which apparently Seven Arcs share as well, considering how bizarre some of their explanations have been. (How many moons are there over Midchilda?) And the large majority of the canon character show absolutely no sign of interest in exploring these mysteries, preferring instead to blow things up. I have created my original characters almost by necessity, for lack of anyone else to act as the Watson to Yuuno's Sherlock.

If anyone else has any better idea on how to proceed, I'm certainly open to suggestions. Or, to be honest, I will be once I get over this accursed virus.

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This entry is part 19 of 43 in the series Nanoha GamerS

Just a teaser image.

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So I just watched the first episode of the alleged sequel to Code-E.

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This entry is part 18 of 43 in the series Nanoha GamerS

Just a teaser image.

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From the ED.

It seems Lina missed us too. Unfortunately, now she has a chance to aim.

There is nothing else I can say about the much-awaited fourth season of Slayers that has not been said before, whether by myself or by other more worthy luminaries. I don't think I can give a fair and unbiased view of the matter through the impenetrable haze of sheer, undiluted nostalgia.

It was, as Arudoc mentioned, fitting that Lina made her debut by blowing up bandits, this time of the seagoing kind led by Captain Jack Sparrow. It is an ancient tradition as hallowed as the sun rising in the east, the ubiquity of hydrogen and stupidity, and Amelia giving a Justice Speech.

Things became something of a blur from there. A squee-ful blur, to butcher the language.

I must also admit to surprise at New Character Pokota's entrance. I wonder what the Dark Lord Ruby-Eye Shabranigdo thinks of his signature spell being cast by a Pokemon muppet.

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