Monday, October 12, 2009

We're moving!

Most likely anyway. If we end up hating the new location we'll come back, but that seems unlikely. So update your bookmarks and such to!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Nodame Cantabile Rewatch Interlude Post

Stringed here with possibly one of the most insane ideas she's had yet. Mori convinced me to join in the fun of a Nodame Cantabile blogger group rewatch. So I'm participating, along with, Mori, Eternal, and Jedi I'm posting this entry because I needed something to post about, and haven't had time to get a proper update on anything around.

Why is this insane, you ask? Well, for starters, I haven't actually finished Nodame Cantabile yet. I've got 4 episodes to go still before I finish, and then I have Paris hen to tackle. As if that isn't bad enough, I'm a horrendously slow anime watcher, and to top it off, school is starting back up in 5 days. But I still feel that I'm up to the task of this rewatch, as well as actually finishing those last 4 eps off so I can actually rewatch them.

So why am I doing this? Nodame Cantabile is quite possibly the best show to come out in the past few years (I can legitimately say this, since Gankutsuou, Princess Tutu, and Haibane Renmei are all pre-2005 titles, unless I'm horribly mistaken). I'm probably biased because of my fanaticism for classical music, but I think it has the potential to be enjoyable to anyone with any ambition, or even just people that like good character dramas. Something as good as Nodame deserves more than one run-through.

Also, I love the classical music so much that I want to go through and write down the names and composers for the pieces used in each episode and note which episode they were used in, since the anime itself does tell you what all the pieces are in those handy little text notes that pop up on screen. Thus my posts for the rewatch will contain the titles and composers of the pieces used, as well as my thoughts on them. I own the Nodame Cantabile 100 Best CD collection, so I can listen to all of the pieces used in full.

...I'm also doing this because I have a terrifying femcrush on Miki Kiyora. I fail so miserably at all things intelligent. Curse you for looking so good with a violin, Kiyora! And to revisit Masumi-chan and his awesomeness.

And a useless parting screenshot:

Damn, Kiyora's not one to mess with, either.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer 2009 Anime Thoughts \\ Part 1

lolol i don't feckin' know.

Anyways, it's time for Owari's Whenever the Hell she Feels Like it Summer 2009 Anime Thoughts! I honestly doubt I'll be able to do anything about when I post whenever I post, because I'll post whatever I feel like posting when I feel like I should post some stuff. I'll probably be kinda busy with IRL things around Fall 2009, so even though I'll be keeping up with anime airing and such, I'm not sure if I'd have much to say. I could probably make ~2 posts a week if I really wanted to, I'm sure I could think of something to talk about. To be honest, though, I haven't had anyone inside my room besides my siblings, at least not for a long time, so I started to fill it up with anime-related stuff (posters, mini-figures, wallscrolls, and the like, even some Megami posters) and all of a sudden, one of my sister's friends is staying here for a week. Being as me and both of my sisters share a room, but one of them is away at college, she's staying in this room.

Not that there are any other rooms in the house, why the hell do you think three girls would share a room otherwise? I don't think I'll be able to experience the joy of having what's truly my own room until at least after I get out of college. If I had the money for it, I'd be sure to fill it with lots of my weeaboo/nerd stuff. I really am looking forward to living alone, and not having to be bothered about anything by anyone and just living peacefully with a job and maybe a pet or two or something like that. But, I digress.

In any case, yeah, I haven't seen every anime this season, so if there's a show you really like that you think I should be watching, then tell me, or something. These are just the ones I'm actively following.

Now first, and foremost, we have Umineko No Naku Koro Ni, directed by Studio DEEN. Now, I've read it, all four of the Question arcs, so you can't really...uh, spoiler me. I've seen the preview for the first answer arc, and I kinda have a few things to say about it, but for the fear of bringing several fantastical arguments into this, I'm not going to bother.

The reason I consider this 'first and foremost' is not because I thought it would be the best anime this season. It's great, comparison to the visual novel, it's pretty damn weak. As of right now, I've seen two episodes' worth...and, while it does manage to instill some of the sympathy you had for all of the people involved in the shed incident, alive or only really gives you a little for George and Shannon, which is a pity. And even then, not really-people aren't gonna feel some sorrow for some guy who wasn't quite presented well enough for you to get to know all of his motives.

But the real thing I like about Umineko is the fact that it's both a mystery, and at the same time, it has fantastical elements. But, at the same time, they don't necessarily exist on the same plane, and you have to use the elements of fantasy and the few stated truths to try and put together a truth behind everything that happened on Rokkenjima. Honestly, if you really want my opinion, watching the anime's not that much of a big deal-if I could get the readers to do one thing, it'd be to read the visual novel over watching the anime.

But the anime does have its benefits. Hell, the reason I started watching the anime was because I just wanted to see how it would be animated. But, the thing is....I'm just worried the anime's gonna attract the kind of fans that Higurashi seemed to attract. I wouldn't call it quite the majority, but...there was a certain portion of Higurashi fans that watched it because it was "LoL bLoOdY nD sUsPenSeY oMg!!111" or something like that. I guess you'll find a certain amount of blood, but based off the scene of the first twilight, it's going to be just blackish blurs anyways.

But maybe it's just that it's kinda lampshaded in the VN, and there's more emphasis on "Who the hell would do this? This is terrible"...but, to be fair, the anime wasn't that far off.

I liked both the opening and ending for this show. The ending takes...some...getting used to, but once you're used to it, you'll love it. And both have some interesting visuals. But I don't think you should watch a show for the OP/ED for no reason, as I'll emphasize with my next review.

Okay. This show...I'll say it. It's pretty damn bad. It's so bad that I don't know whether to laugh at it or to start banging my head upon a keyboard repeatedly, until all of the keys have been reduced to a fine powder. Maybe I should have done both, and then proceeded to ingest dangerous amounts of caffeine. But it's so bad, that in a way, it's good. Who the hell produced this? ...Madhouse? Really? I guess they made Chaos;Head, so I suppose they're capable of making anime that's just plain bad, but...

By any reviewer standards, though, it is pretty darn bad. You've got the main character, who's this typical shonen hero. As in, a total idiot who has no idea what the hell he's doing with anything, and has APPARENTLY no inherent ability for whatever the hell it is, because I could hardly even pay attention to what was actually going on, and I just ended up laughing at how ridiculously sacreligious this show is. Seriously, there are a lot of ties-in to...Priests, fighting a mecha that's called a Testament? And the priest is this guy with a ridiculously overmuscled chest. And the animation is so QUAAAAAAALITY that I'm not even sure how they got away with it.

No, I can't even bother to remember any of the character names, but I have a feeling the guy's sister is gonna show up again and be a fucking evil bitch, for whatever reason that I can't seem to place my finger on, since she didn't have an on-screen death. And the priest guy is gay, or at least it seems kinda like it. As are some of the bad guys. EXCEPT SOME AREN'T. But, I really can't seem to think of anything remotely intelligent to say about this, because this is such a stupid show.

However, my main point of interest in this show is the ending theme. It probably has more yuri than the summer '09 season, and as far as this season goes, it seems like it has more yuri than most seasons I've seen, so this is really saying something. But...I haven't even seen these characters yet. And it's incredibly unsuiting to the show. The OP is just plain terrible, though, as far as song choice goes, so I guess it actually kinda suits it, in a way.

In any case, I'd only watch this if you're bored and you want something incredibly fucking dumb to laugh at. Otherwise, just don't even bother with it at all. I'll probably get bored at some point and just find it incredibly unfunny and dumb and drop it like a rock, but I thought I would do that with Akikan too, and I ended up liking that, in a way, despite finding it terrible as a show. So, hell, I don't know, and I don't think people'll gain anything from reading this, except knowledge that I can't take shows like this seriously.

Now, moving onto the next show, Kanamemo. I'd say this is a pretty likable show-it's certainly nothing near groundbreaking, but it's pretty damn cute. It's animated by Feel, and I'm just looking up what they've animated now, and I didn't really know what they produced bevofe that, but those are mostly things I've been meaning to watch, and then, on a totally different note, Da Capo, which I couldn't be less interested in. Even for a generic harem, it always looked kinda...mediocre for that.

As to the actual plot? It just seems to be more of a setup to show the crazy interactions of six girls living together, as is common in the slice-of-life genre. But, even for a slice-of-life, it has quite a bit of yuri fanservice, which can only be seen as a good thing, at least from my perspective, 'cause I'm a pretty hopeless fangirl. (Especially between Yume and Yuuki-hell, they even kiss each other! I just hope that they don't come up with some bullshitted reason and then try to feign heterosexuality, it's always so disappointing when that happens.)

But even so, I think my sort of opinion, or anyone's opinion, is somewhat useless when it comes to Kanamemo. Either you'll like it, or you'll find that it's another run-of-the-mill slice-of-life anime (that was a lot of hyphens.)

So, I went on the internet, to find other people's opinions of this series. And...I was surprised. A lot of people seem to take issue with Haruka's behavior. Granted, a lot of these people are the kind of people who weren't really sure what they were getting into when they were watching it, but I personally can't be bothered by it at all. Actually, I like Haruka, even though she's not really original, per se, being the classic drunken lolita complex 20-year-old, she's a fun character. Although, after seeing episode 2, I do have to wonder if she even delivers papers, or if she's supposed to just be looking after the other five young girls she's taking care of.

But that goes into my opinion on characters' behavior that would be fine in a show is fine in a show, and that you don't need to apply how these people act in real life. Like, yeah, if there was someone like Haruka going around my town, collecting preteen girls and groping them in various ways and being the only guardian for these five kids who already have a job, despite illegally, because you have to be at least 15 to work even with a permit, I'd be worried about these kids too. But this is anime. It's not real life, so I don't think these are the kinds of things that people need to be connecting in their head. I guess this is only my opinion, though, and I know that, despite this, there are going to be people who disagree with me, so really, you can go ahwad and think whatever you want.

So now, I'm going to move on to a show that was pretty much utterly mediocre. And, that is...

Yeah, this show. It's pretty much a relatively generic magical girl show, probably has some loli fanservice...only it's about re-writing code. From the first episode, it doesn't seem like it'll be anything special, but it was mildly amusing, so unless it becomes utterly terrible I probably won't bother dropping it. (It's what, how long, 12 episodes? For some reason I have much less of a problem watching episodes of shows that aren't as long even if they're not quite so good. Not that I mind watching longer shows, but I'm less willing to do so.)

But yeah, I'm kinda interested where the whole topic of writing 'codes' is gonna go...what, is this girl gonna know how to rewrite the C++ holding people together? That doesn't even really make sense, but if I could mess with stuff like that, it'd be awesome.

Still pretty generic and nothing special, though, so I'd say skip it unless you really like magical girl anime. for the plot or characters, I don't have much else to say. They're okay, I's hard to hate characters from one episode of introductions, though.

But, anyways, since I don't have anything else to really say, I'll just go on ahead to the next thing I part two. olololol. No, seriously, Stringed just told me to break it up.

Friday, July 3, 2009

All Ye Who Like Stories Gather 'Round -- Princess Tutu review

Stringed again. I fail so hard; I was planning on doing regular-ish updates, but clearly that did not work. I'll keep trying, though! Well, if Owari's TL;DR about the history of her internet connection didn't scare you away, this wordy Princess Tutu review of doom probably will. The TL;DR version of the review is: Princess Tutu is AWESOME and you should watch it, preferably by actually buying it, because it is one of those series that really deserves to be bought, even if you're not a buyfag. But even if you can't bring yourself to pay for it, watch it. You won't be disappointed.

(The character pictured is Rue. I don't mention her much in the actual review because it was getting too long and her importance to the story, as well as Fakir's, doesn't come into play until a bit later on in the series. However, she is possibly my favorite character along with Fakir, so I felt the need to use her image.)

Modern anime (anything made after 1999) rarely breaks any molds. This is a commonly accepted viewpoint that many fans that have been fans for a long time hold. Most anime that’s being produced is a variant of a tried and true archetype that will make money for the company, but won’t do anything new or groundbreaking. Moe shows, typical shonen fighting shows, and harem shows are the majority of what comes out of Japan anymore. However, there are times when some brave souls opt to step away from this formula. Sometimes it fails miserably and the involved are left kicking themselves for taking the risk, but sometimes, they achieve greatness.

Okay, maybe not greatness; at least not in most lights. These unusual series that turn out amazing don’t usually sell well. They don’t get merchandise or huge fanbases. Often they go completely under the fans’ radar. Unfortunately, that seems to be what happened with this little gem that I’m reviewing, Princess Tutu.

This series came out in Japan in 2002-2003, though I was still a new fan back then and didn’t really hear about it until around 2006 after it had been released in America. I never ended up buying and watching it until just last year, though. But now I’ve seen it all and I must say, mind = blown. Sadly, I don’t think anywhere near enough people actually gave this series a shot, especially not out of the demographic of anime fans that actually buy their anime.

ADV really didn’t handle this series too well at first, though. There was nearly a year’s gap between the initial releases of vol. 1 and vol. 2, and the series was obviously not very well marketed, since I had no idea it even existed until the first episode got shown at the anime club that I attended at the time. By this time, the entire series was out, though there was no box set. When I finally got around to buying it, having really liked what I saw at anime club and having heard a few positive reviews of it, as well as watching the famous Håll om Mig nu AMV, the single discs were next to impossible to find. A box set was put on schedule after I’d bought the first disc, but I continued attempting to chase down the singles up to volume 3. I did so because the box set was listed for a low price, so I was afraid it was going to be a thinpak rather than the brick that it was, and ADV has a history of stripping the extras from its thinpak releases. I knew from the first disc and word of mouth that Princess Tutu had really good extras, so I didn’t want to pay for stripped discs like I had stupidly done with Azumanga Daioh. I stopped hunting singles after volume 3 since I found out that the new box set was actually going to leave its extras in tact. Also volume 4 was next to impossible to find. I still need to watch the extras on vol. 2-6, but the ones on vol. 1 were completely worth it. The English director commentary was really fascinating; it went into a lot of detail on the music used in the series.

As for the actual series itself, I already said that the end result of watching the whole series was mind = blown. I have a list of the 3 anime that I consider to be the best ever made, and Princess Tutu is #2 on that list (1 and 3 are Haibane Renmei and Gankutsuou respectively). Whenever I watch a new anime title, I judge it using those 3 titles as my standard (the exception being comedy anime. Those are judged on how much I laugh at them and that’s about it). Because it’s one of the series that I use as a standard to judge other titles against, I thought it would be best to make it my first actual series review, especially since I finished it recently (December 10th, 2008 to be exact).

The basic plot of Princess Tutu sounds so very simple. There once lived a man who loved to write stories. He was working on a story called “The Prince and the Raven”, which was about an evil raven and a prince that broke his heart into many pieces in order to seal the raven away. Unfortunately, the man, Drosselmeyer, died before he completed the story. The raven, bored of being stuck in a story that would never come to a conclusion, left the pages of the book. The prince followed, knowing it would be disastrous to let the raven wreak havoc upon the world unchecked.

From there, it turns out that somehow, Drosselmeyer’s spirit is watching the events unfold, and he is pleased. He decides that he should make things more interesting and bring another character out of the story. That character is Princess Tutu, a minor character from Drosselmeyer’s story, but the lead of the tale to unfold. He brings her into the story by offering a pendant to a mere duck. This pendant will allow the duck to transform into a girl by the name of Ahiru, and then again into Princess Tutu. The role of Princess Tutu is to return the scattered shards of the prince’s heart to the prince, who just happens to be Ahiru’s crush, Mytho. …Wait, did I say the plot was simple?

I must confess that Princess Tutu does have its flaws. There aren’t many of them at all, but still they’re there. The only one that is inherently part of the series is that there are a few dull spots. There aren’t too many, and they’re only present in the first half of the series, but they’re still there. I think they are a case of the exposition of the story stretching over too many episodes. I’m a big fan of character and world building, but even I have my limits. Though I think the biggest issue wasn’t so much that there was more character and world building going on than plot, but rather how formulaic the episodes were from episode 2 up to episode 6. These episodes all boiled down to there being a heart shard causing problems, so Ahiru transforms into Princess Tutu, convinces the heart shard to stop being defiant and return to its proper form, then she returns the shard to Mytho. That got old pretty fast, but once the series picked up, it really picked up.

This show really left a strong impression on me. It has a sort of charm that is really hard to resist once you get into the series. I felt so strongly for the characters that I feel guilty for wishing there was more, even if it were just an OAV or a movie. The reasons behind that are extremely spoilerific, but let's just say all stories need to end. Also, Princess Tutu is a rare example of my opinion on a character doing a complete 180. That character is Rue (pictured near the top). The first half of the series has her characterized one way, but she steadily breaks out of the mold that you think she's set herself firmly into and becomes something else entirely. That's what Princess Tutu does so many times that it's crazy; leads you to believe it is or will do one thing, then completely changes direction. It's like a roller coaster that starts off with a pretty good drop, then slows down for a bit, but then it charges full speed ahead through all kinds of peaks and plunges and turns and anything imaginable, leaving your head spinning when you get off.

A lot of people passed up on watching Princess Tutu just from glancing at the cover and title. It does look and sound incredibly girly, after all. But the people that made that decision made a big mistake. Though it does have its feminine elements, Princess Tutu is primarily an extremely messed up fairytale. I don’t mean it’s along the lines of Junko Mizuno’s works; it’s not even close to that. What I mean is that it’s like the creators took the basic outline of a standard fairytale, then proceeded to turn it upside down, shake it a couple times, flesh it out far more than most fairytales ever get fleshed out, especially in character development, then spin it around really fast and see what it does. In other words, it’s a unique story in both the realm of anime and the realm of fairytales, and Western literature in general.

I urge anyone that has an interest in Princess Tutu either to buy one of the recent box sets that have been put out for it. I understand not wanting to blindly shell out cash, so watch a few episodes via Netflix, borrowing from a friend, downloading, etc if you’re not completely sold, but if you do end up liking it, it’s absolutely worth purchasing. Both the first complete collection, which I own, and the more recent one leave the extras in tact, at least according to Anime on DVD. If nothing else, these extras are worth buying the DVDs for, but as Princess Tutu is the second title on my list of the top three best anime ever made, it deserves to be purchased.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rambling + ef - a tale of memories + Air = Review Time!

I'm bored now, so I'm going to write a review of...uh, everything I've watched lately that isn't NGE or TTGL. But, before that, I'm going to explain in great detail why I'm writing reviews of anime that most of you watched at least 2-3 years ago. You see, back two or three years ago, I had just obtained DSL. As in, I'd had it for under a year. Before that, I had what is quite possibly the slowest, shittiest internet service. Like, we started out calling the AOL people and bitching for more free dial-up, then when they told us to shut our damn mouths and to be glad we'd gotten two years of shitty free internet with a fuckload of porn ads that probably gave the computer downstairs 2109341+ undetectable viruses. So, me still being like...I don't even remember how old I was, it was this long ago. But then we got this other internet, that was run through the internet. It was, And it was horrible shit-there was a maximum hour usage of 40 HOURS A MONTH. And that shit wasn't even free, we had to pay ten dollars for crappy 56k internet that never downloaded things past a speed of 8kb/s unless it was 3 AM at night. Not that I ever got to use it at 3 AM at night, because it was only on one computer and...yeah.

I think I might've been thirteen or fourteen at the time. I'm not even totally sure. And it wasn't like I had cable TV or anything, I remember having to sneak off to the library with my behemoth of a laptop that had to have a special card and cord just to use the internet, because it was only to be used on special occasions or something. That was pretty awful. And then I think they went out of business, or wanted to charge more or something, so we stopped using them. It was probably the worst experience I'd had in a while, though...I remember trying to download the Majora's Mask N64 ROM, since I'm not going to really lie about my vidya piracy when I was a young kid, and it took over three hours, and everyone was yelling at me to turn off the internet. But I got the actual game-maybe that's why I was such a vidya nerd then, because back then was when it was still possible to emulate games on PCs before they all got ridiculous in terms of what you needed to power them. I dunno.

And then I had peoplePC. I hope they're like, out of business now, but I'm not going to really complain as much about them, because I was able to use the internet whenever I wanted by going through some loophole in the software (but then an update fixed that, but after that I only had it for another month, so oh well.) That was when my mother decided she wanted to start going onto yahoo chatrooms though, so it was like a bloody war to decide who was able to use the computer and who wasn't. And that wasn't exactly fun, but that was when I finally just decided to try downloading anime at the library. But I had shit taste and was into MMOs at the time, so I was downloading stuff like Inuyasha or something, whenever I did. I didn't often, because I was too busy playing that silly online game. If you're playing Maplestory, I'd advise for you to quit, because I think my life got a million times better after I quit. I mean, I'm not exactly a friend-attracting normalfag now, nor will I ever be. But my taste in things got so much better, and I was able to actually do productive things rather than grinding infinite levels. That's why I don't like MMOs, even though you might feel like you have absolutely nothing better to do, after I've played an MMO I feel like I've done nothing, and I'll play one for like three days in a row (I mean, I'll sleep and eat and take breaks, but all my time'll be devoted to that otherwise) and then I either get addicted or bored. But it's not like the vidya where there might be an actual somewhat-meaningful storyline, it's just LEVELAN and stuff for e-penis.

That being said, I'm not really against MMOs, I just think that playing them religiously to the point where you do nothing else is boring. That's just my opinion, though, and it's not like I'm the most social butterfly out there, I just don't think MMOs are as rewarding as...a lot of things.
Since I've rambled on enough about the history of my internet, I think I should just jump into the reviews of the anime I've watched? Oh, but before you think that my interweb history has no relevance, I brought it up mostly because I think that the longer you go without exposure to the internet, the worse your taste will be. I mean, I didn't like Bleach even then, and I don't now, so I guess it doesn't particularly matter, and it's like a learning curve, in a way. But, if you still have 56k, I think it'd be a good idea to try and get DSL/Cable internet. I think the days of 56k are dead, but I'm not totally sure, because just because I don't know anyone who has it doesn't mean some old grandma out there doesn't have it?

Oh, and for your information, this review isn't about everything I watched, just whatever I feel like reviewing, whether it's good or bad.

Now, for the first review, is.. ef - a tale of memories.

Now, my thought of this series was that it was pretty much...average. I didn't hate it, I liked how SHAFT executed it, but...I'm not sure if the source material was super-fantastic to begin with. I'm not going to say it was bad, but it certainly didn't exceed my expectations. A lot of people seem to really think this show is terrible and full of cliches, or, on the other hand, they absolutely love it, and think it's the best thing ever. I don't really think it's that fabulous, though I certainly wouldn't say that I hate it at all.

I think the main thing that can be said about this anime is that one of the characters in it sparked a dubious fansubbing group, at least for many. Except, that's not the main thing at all, and that's just some side knowledge. It was based off of an eroge, and I don't really care who made it. There's a translation project for it somewhere, and they released a starter patch, but I'm not totally sure if they plan on continuing. I think it was the Miyako route.

As for the actual characters, which I find more interesting than the actual plot of the anime, I -hated- Kei. I absolutely thought she was just annoying, over-possessive, and really bitchy to Miyako. This Miyako really can't hold a candle to the superior Miyako, however, even though I certainly wouldn't say I dislike her. And the mangaka guy, who I found so un-notable that there was pretty much nothing I could say about him, was another victim of that girl. Maybe I just don't like Kei a lot because I knew a girl with a similar hairstyle, only her hair wasn't purple, and she acted really similar. I don't think that's it, though. The thing I probably hated the most about Kei was how she was Chihiro's sister, and yet, practically her only contact with her sister was through TEXT MESSAGES. Just because it was so painful for her to talk to her sister, because of the whole amnesia thing, which I thought was probably the dumbest part of the plot. (Yet, I don't mind Chihiro as a character, I honestly thought she was pretty cute.

The thing that always bothers me about eroge adaptations is that nine times out of ten, the male characters are so dull that I forget their names a few days after watching the show. I realize, because I've -played- eroge, and enjoy playing them once in a while, that the reason for this is because you're supposed to place yourself into the shoes of the main male character, which means I get to pretend to be a boy for a while. I wish there were more yuri eroge, those are really fun, because I don't have to pretend to be the indistinct teenage boy. But, because of this, there's very little actual personality allocated to the male characters in most eroge, because, in general, the more defined of a character an anime/manga/eroge character tends to be, the harder it is to put yourself in their shoes. That might work for eroge, where all of the focus is on the girls and you're meant to form your own opinions about the nature of the main character, or you can make choices to decide what actions you'd take. But I don't think it translates well into anime. That's not to say that all of the male characters in anime based off of visual novels or eroge are bad, and I'm sure there've been some good executions of the main male character. (Aside from the way that Yuuichi in Kanon '06 dressed, because he looked like a totally unfabulous hobo, I actually didn't mind the way he was executed, because he at least came off as some sort of sarcastic bastard who just likes messing with people.) I'm sure there're exceptions, but for the most part, I just feel that the main male protagonists in anime based off of eroge tend to be...very, very dull and completely forgettable.

That being said, I think that while the animation for -ef- was wonderful, the actual plot itself was a bit lackluster and offered very little towards my enjoyment of the series. An illness like Chihiro's, despite the fact that it's complete nonsense or some such equivalent, tends to be more amusing than it is good plot material. Also, I just came back to writing this and took a two-week break, so that's really all I have to say. If you want eyeporn with plot that's just generic and makes me laugh at some of the awkwardness and typical keyaids-esque 'illnesses', but still manages to be decent, at the very least, then just watch -ef- a tale of memories. I haven't watched melodies, but I might not, no SHAFT.

I think, since I'm in the mood for it, I'll review Air TV. To abruptly switch what I was talking about...

So...yeah. Of all of the works of Key I've seen adapted by Kyoto Animation, this one's probably the weakest. I didn't particularly like any of the main three girls, though at least I didn't hate any of them. My favorite character in the show, though, is...

...Potato. Yes, that adorable dog that just looks so cute and like you want to hug him only you can't, because it's an anime character. He just totally loved everyone in the show and was an adorable doggie and was so cute with his little bark and--

I'll spare you more of that. But that just goes to show how...oddly developed the show is. One of my main problems with the show is, upon seeing the recap episode, both Minagi and Kana get about a minute each to summarize their arc. Which...really kinda kills the emphasis and the events of what happened, and makes it seem more like "MISUZU MISUZU MISUZU". Of which...I wasn't a fan of Misuzu much at all. I'll admit it, she was cute, but...Key really needs to stop making plots that revolve around these "LOL MYSTERIOUS ILLNESSES". It's like, it couldn't hurt to actually do something that doesn't revolve around one main character dying/disappearing? Even though I quite liked Kanon and Clannad, I just still find it simply strange. And, with the exception of making a plot setup so that Haruko could accept her role as Misuzu's true mother, I didn't like how it was executed.

But I think one of the worst plot executions would have to be Crow!Yukito. I understand that Air wasn't a story based on reality, and I understand that there are a lot of supernatural happenings that don't really get much of an explanation, but this is really just...over-the-top. There's no explanation, besides the fact of "Oh, I'll die if I get too close to you!111", but then Yukito -doesn't- die, but instead, he becomes a bird that follows around Misuzu, and has apparently been doing so ever since the beginning of the story. Did he learn to do the time warp, or something? I just really don't get it.

And, furthermore, even -not- in Misuzu's story arc, the other two arcs are just...too rushed, and I felt like I didn't even get to know Minagi or Kana. And, as a result, I think that all three of the arcs kinda...suffered. I think that both of them could have been elaborated on much further and extended my understanding of them, but as it stands now, I find it difficult to care about Minagi's mother's neurosis.

But, what I really really liked about AIR was the summer arc. I understand that it's supposed to give an explanation for the happenings to Misuzu and Yukito, and it was only one episode. But the overall feel of it, of the story that explained the happenings in the present, was quite well-done, I thought. I didn't have anything particularly against any of the characters in the Summer Arc, and I thought that even the explanation of Kanna's mother's illness was decent enough (Key and their lack of explanation for illnesses simply baffles me, and I don't understand how it underlines the plot in almost any case, but oh well). I haven't seen Air in Summer yet, and apparently it elaborates on the arc...

In any case, Air is worth watching, and I'd reccomend it, because it's well-done. But, be prepared for a lot of annoying nuances in the plot, and be prepared for a lot of people who think that it's far better than it is. If you liked other Key works, you should be fine, and most people who read this review have probably not wanted to watch AIR or seen it by now, seeing as it was made in the Winter '05 season, but it's still a nice show to watch if you're bored, want to watch something with an interesting conclusion, and have a few hours to kill.

Just be prepared for every character except Misuzu to get shafted.

Since I think this is enough for a post, I figure I'll just leave it at where it is now. Um...I'm not sure that many of you care too much about my opinions on Air, though...

In any case, if you'd like to know the anime I'm watching this season, I'm currently watching K-ON!, Basquash!, Pandora Hearts, Saki, and Eden of the East. Next season, I'll definitely be picking up ZSZS, Umineko, APH Season Two, and Aoi Hana. (I'll also be looking into Bakemonogatari and CANAAN). time I review, expect a review for one of these shows, or other things I felt like randomly watching. So, until next time?

Friday, May 29, 2009

In Defense of Axis Powers Hetalia

Stringed here again, this time with a rant for an update. Anyone that knows me very well at all knows that I am a huge fan of Axis Powers Hetalia. This series, which is basically a retelling of history with the countries involved depicted as anthropomorphized human characters, has sparked a lot of controversy since it first started getting popular.

If you are unfamiliar with Axis Powers Hetalia, these links give some more information:
Axis Powers Hetalia anime - ANN
Axis Powers Hetalia manga - ANN
Hetalia LiveJournal community <-- the main hub of Hetalia fandom. This is where all of the scanlations are located, etc.
Hetalia Wikipedia article
Hetalia scanlation index

Now, what is the big deal with Axis Powers Hetalia? Why is there such a huge controversy? A big issue that a lot of the people who are anti-Hetalia have with the series is that its main subject matter is WWII, and it's told with the main characters being the Axis Powers, as if that isn't a bit obvious from the title. They feel that this series is making light of one of the most horrible events in world history, and is thus disrespectful, etc. They argue that the atrocities committed during WWII should not be made into a joke.

I have several arguments against this viewpoint. The primary argument I have is that a lot of the people claiming Hetalia is offensive, insulting, and whatever else they state is wrong with it have never actually sat down and read a single chapter of the manga or watched a single episode of the anime. They simply read a summary or hear someone else complaining and instantly jump up and raise a call to arms against a cartoon, without ever bothering to see if it's really as bad as they think it is.

Also, the argument about war crimes and atrocities really is not reasonable. Hetalia does not go into things such as the Holocaust or the Rape of Nanking. This is not because Hidekaz Himaruya (Hetalia's creator) is trying to "gloss over" these things. It's because Hetalia is a comedy, and Himaruya agrees with the people that are so offended by his work in the fact that there is nothing funny about those events.

Those against Hetalia also like to complain about the fact that the Axis Powers are not portrayed as wicked and evil people. "How can Nazi Germany be a nice guy and a bishounen?!" they say. The problem with this argument? Ludwig, the character for Germany in Hetalia, is NOT Nazi Germany. Ludwig is Germany from the birth of the country all the way up to modern day. Also, he is not the German government; he is Germany overall. Before and after WWII, Germany was not evil. Even during WWII, Germany was not evil. Hitler and the Nazis, perhaps, but not Germany itself. Thus, Ludwig is meant to portray Germany as a whole, not just Nazis.

People that have a problem with it 'focusing' on the Axis Powers, or it being written by a Japanese person need to step back and realize that the focus on the Axis Powers does not mean that they are being portrayed as the "good guys". Hetalia portrays every single country as a decent person deep down, though they all also have negative things about them. There are no "villains" in Hetalia. They're all neither completely good nor completely bad, which is really how it is, isn't it? As for Himaruya being Japanese, it's hardly fair to say that he can't poke fun at history just because his country was on the "bad" side. Himaruya wasn't even alive during WWII. Why should a mistake that his country's government made in the past dictate whether he should be allowed to write a satire or not? In my opinion, it's a bit racist to say that he shouldn't be allowed to write WWII satire because he's Japanese. Being Japanese does not mean that he wishes the Axis had won or anything like that. Honestly, people.

Finally, if Hetalia is so offensive to people, why aren't other things of a similar nature considered the same? Hellsing, for example, is a Japanese series that has Nazis in it. Actual Nazis. But you don't hear anyone complaining. The Great Dictator is an incredible Charlie Chaplain movie that makes fun of Hitler. No one complains about it, even though a Jewish main character gets sent to a concentration camp and escapes in a ridiculous way, which brings it much closer to making light of the atrocities that happened. Mecha Musume and Afghanis-tan are very similar to Hetalia, except for the fact that most of the characters are female. They don't get hated on so hard. So really, what makes Hetalia so awful?

So if you're reading this and haven't actually seen or read any of Hetalia, I'd like to ask you to read some of the manga and/or watch some of the anime before making a decision on whether or not it's offensive, and whether or not you enjoy it. If you actually give it a shot and it still bothers you, fine, but don't try to say fans of it are immoral just because they're not offended by something that offends you. That's just obnoxious, honestly. Also, this post only covers one sort of argument against Hetalia. The stuff about fans only liking it for BL and bishonen because they didn't see the comedy is too ridiculous for me to even comment on.

In closing, here's a MAD for Hetalia that always makes me smile:

Monday, May 25, 2009

And finally it begins...Eri Sawachika 1/8 PVC figure by Good Smile Company review

Hello, Stringed here. It's been, what, 2 months since Owari and I created this? Wow, we fail. I never had anything intelligent to update with, since I don't watch as much anime as I really should, and I think Owari forgot this existed until I reminded her a week or so ago.

But now I'm going to actually use this blog. Can't speak for Owari, but I want to do something with it. Hence some updates. I made a banner for us. It's pretty bad, since I'm a Photoshop noob, but oh well. Owari made her own version which we may switch to, if she ever opts to upload it to the page. Also, we have an RSS feed now! Please subscribe? It won't take too long to do and is easier than checking for updates!

And now onto the actual content for today. I attended Anime Central 2009, which was the most fun I've ever had at a con, but I have nothing intelligent to say about it, so I probably won't post about it, unless someone really wants to hear about it. At Acen, I spent quite a bit of money. $50 of it went to a lovely new figure. That figure is Good Smile Company's Eri Sawachika (School Rumble). GSC put out this nice 1/8 scale figure in July of 2006. I didn't realize she was that old when I picked her up.


She looks quite nice, especially for her age. The colors are vivid and the details are quite nice as well.


I really like how the bottom of her shirt flares out as if it were blowing in the wind.


Her hair does the same. It's also shaded very well.


She also looks nice from the back.



A couple of my favorite shots.

Overall I have absolutely no complaints. I can't believe she was only $50, and that was after tax. Definitely worth it. She's not the easiest to find, but if you spot one, I'd certainly pick it up if she holds your interest even a little bit.