Archive for January, 2009

Toph triumphant.

Not quite an anime topic, I realize, but it is tangentially related to anime, a distant cousin whose exact relation to anime is not quite clear, but nevertheless has Something To Do with anime in a curiously definite way. It is related, it is influenced, it is inspired, it may even be esque.

I've been marathoning all three seasons of Avatar The Last Airbender, and I have to admit that it is Good. I haven't yet pinned down exactly why it is Good, but it entertained and interested me, which is Good Enough. I can understand its popularity now, and I am at least leaning towards being a fan, if not especially keen on joining the fandom. If nothing else, there is always the appeal of Original Characters in fanfics: it's always fun to come up with characters wielding the powers of the elements, albeit more classical than periodic.

It is intriguing that I keep hearing that it's "like anime". If I were flippant, I could make a big deal about how anime is simultaneously seen as a sign of Serious Storytelling and mere Tentacle Porn, but that is so inaccurate it makes my head hurt, and I would rather not inflict that piece of stupidity on anyone else. (Instead, I'll inflict other stupid stuff.) If I had to guess, I'd say that the art style, particularly in the large eyes, are what makes it "like anime". And yet I get the impression that others believe in some undefinable quality, some mystical aether, which suffuses anime, or at least anime that others (not being, like myself, members of Creepius Fanboius) would admit to watching to, and which Avatar and shows like it have deigned to partake of.

It is a mystery.

On another note, despite her sometimes abrasive personality, I find the title of "favourite character" to be pretty much owned by Rock Loli Toph. Possibly because, as I've mentioned on my Twitter, every time she pokes a rock, I expect her to yell "BAKUSAI TENKETSU" or something.

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This entry is part 31 of 43 in the series Nanoha GamerS

Just a teaser image.

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Mikuru and Miyuki.

Where's My Cow?

Is That My Cow?

It Goes "Mooeee!"

It Is An Otaku!

That Is Not My Cow!

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Leopard and Akiha.

Like most sci-fi anime which deals with Adventures In Space!, Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo is set towards the softer side of the science, while still retaining a healthy dosage of technobabble, such that I am unable to follow more than the absolute basics without some sort of Cliff's Notes. There are lengthy expositions on how the Great Big Cannon (possibly needing spheres of metal to function) is symbolically Large and Powerful, while not one line is uttered regarding sound in space.

And that's all right, since Hard Science Fiction is often too unyielding for my squishy brain to process, made much squishier by the inevitable fatigue state I am in when I get around to watching my anime. I'm not looking for hard science; I just want entertainment. Later I may wax sesquipedalian about the holes in the theories, especially if the series interests me enough to write fanfic about it, but that's another blog post.

Of course, I'm watching this only because I gravitate towards any anime with a healthy dosage of humour and cute girls. The sci-fi genre is a nice bonus, as I let my brain skim over any new concepts the anime sees fit to implement. Most of these serve little functional purpose, save to advance the plot, or provide a means for character development of some sort.

Having said all that, I'm almost certain that Leopard's campy antics and all the phallic imagery is at least somewhat intentional. Trying to find a suitable title for this post proved more difficult than I expected, due to a surfeit of options, none of which are remotely suitable for a PG-rated blog.

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From the ZnT3 OVA.

Despite wearing nothing else but a revealing bikini, Queen Henrietta still dons her tiara.

I've already mentioned this elsewhere, in various discussions about the OVA, but it still bears repeating: why?

That tiara is beginning to seem less like a symbol of office than some sort of cartilaginous outgrowth.

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Maid Guitar opening.

There is, apparently, a saying that Comedy is Tragedy plus Time. I first heard it among my friends in the US, and it seemed like some sort of quote or well-known aphorism which I had not hitherto encountered. Like all generalizations there are exceptions, but it does explain the accusation of "too soon".

Personal observation, however, has more or less convinced me of a more accurate version: Comedy is Tragedy happening to someone else.

I'm not entirely sure what to think about Maria Holic. The entire premise appears to be an invitation for the audience to witness all the myriad ways in which Kanako is tormented psychologically and occasionally physically by Maria (or Mariya, as some romanizations have it). And this is okay, because of Kanako's reactions: she goes on extended rants and whines about how Maria is being such a meanie, as well as pretty much everything else that pops into her mind at the moment. These rants are delivered rapid-fire, replete with metaphors and similes that don't quite end up as they're supposed to. And then Maria does the pretty-sparklies thing, and Kanako is instantly won over again.

With so many comedy aspects, it's hard to honestly feel bad for the character being thusly abused. One gets the feeling that the victim is not being serious, and that it's okay to laugh along.

I fear a later mood crash, and the subsequent feeling that I am a horrible, horrible person for even thinking that another person's misfortune (however fictional) is in any way amusing.

On a tangent, there's an odd bit of background music in episode two, before the (maid guitar) opening animation, where the dorm leader girl is talking about food. The music in that scene reminds me so much of "Korobeiniki" (aka The Tetris Type A Song) that I suspect it is a pastiche or homage of some sort. For, and this is Studio SHAFT we're talking about, no discernable reason.

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From Kannagi.

Came across this Kannagi screenshot when I was clearing out my Miscellaneous Screenshots folder.

I can only assume that this is either some sort of biting social commentary, or an injoke.

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Various girls (and misc) from Da Capo 2.

There is, I have found, a difference between being a fan, being part of a fandom, and simply liking something. An excellent illustration can be seen with the Fallout games: there is the fan-ness of being a fan of the games, and there is the fan-ness of liking the games. These are not mutually inclusive, as is the status of being in the Fandom. As an example, I like the games, and I will be happy to discourse upon them with any others holding the same view, but since I like Fallout 3 a great deal more than Fallout 2 (I have not played Fallout 1 or Fallout Tactics yet), I have been firmly told that I am not a "true fan", and therefore I am forevermore barred from being in the Fandom.

This is not a new position for me. Throughout my years of being in Internet fandoms, I have been in the general vicinity of American comics fandoms, but apart from Astro City, I have yet to really delve into the foetid depths of the convoluted histories of the various popular comics characters. I realize that life in comics is not all about Marvel and DC, but considering what the stores here actually stock, I have to wonder sometimes. And so, when I joined the community at the American Superhero Comics Inspired MMORPG City of Heroes, I have been shunned by some for not coming to the game from the viewpoint of a comics fan. I mean, I really like Astro City, but apparently that is not enough.

Yes, I understand that this is a minority view, and I have been given a sort of pass on the basis that I like CoH/V due to my anime-esque ideas. Apart from my well-known constant requests for More Magical Girl Costume Options, I still await the advent of Paper Control, partly because I can make my own Read or Die Paper Master, and partly because the ofuda-slinging Combat Miko is a common staple in supernatural-oriented anime.

In any case, since this is an anime blog, I have to tie this in to anime. The obvious link here is in the reputation fans have, due to the fandom they may or may not be a part of: if you should feel favourably inclined towards, say, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, you may call yourself a Haruhiist, or you may not, depending on how much a part of the fandom you are. There is no shame in being a fan but not being in the fandom: gods know I'm perfectly happy to put a great deal of distance between my being a Fallout fan, even if not a True Fan, and the Fallout fandom, who I would imagine know what constitutes being a True Fan, ie not me.

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Chihaya and Kagome react to some news.

I have a great many things I could say about this anime, such as my anticipation of it based on the manga, as well as my expectation that it's not going to be a good anime, but it's going to be fun.

I could mention that it's effectively a vehicle for wacky romantic fanservice hijinks. I could mention that so far I'm happy with what I see, with the caveat that I'm easily satisfied when it comes to cute girls in anime. I could even mention that Kagome seems to be rather younger than I remember, especially since I think she's supposed to be… well, minor spoilers.

But for now, all I can think about is the moment when Chihaya (the green-haired one) opened her mouth, and I instantly recognized her voice actress. Yukari Tamura really has a distinctive voice, and I love it.

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This entry is part 30 of 43 in the series Nanoha GamerS

Just a teaser image.

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