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How much is too much?

I’m a fan of fanservice, let that never be denied, but there’s a little (okay, a lot) bit wrong with fanservice as a bunch of pantsu-shots and a pan up from a girl’s chest and the enjoyment or hatred thereof. It’s an art; it’s all about where you look, and it’s done wrong if it’s all you see.

Now, I’m going to sound like I’m whining for a second, but maybe just a few too many anime per season have pantsu-type fanservice as their main focus rather than the characters themselves recently.

I’d say that that’s wrong, but, as with the camera, it’s about where the viewer focuses that changes the picture kaleidoscopically.

Example: K-on!, as much as I love the moé-blob that it is, is simply not about the characters for me. It’s about the moé, another type of fanservice. For once, stop thinking of Yui or Mio (I know it’s hard) and think about what you actually draw from the anime…. you hear that? It’s the sound of a cricket outside my window (very literally, actually). It’s the sound of your eyes focusing on characteristics rather than characters or plot, on sugar rather than seasoning. It’s the sound of eyes glazing over and thinking about how the characters act, which is a totally Japanese fixation that you’ve, sadly, now been diagnosed with.

Now for the opposite: my sister doesn’t get the moé at all. She just likes the songs and the instruments. So when she asks me to watch it with her, it’s a different experience because she’s in the room.

Anyway, this action of fanservice not necessarily being fanservice boils down to a simple question: what do we get from it?

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Your palette in Classic.

Normally, I grandstand about all things Japan or anime, but recently I’ve taken a liking to a video game that has very little to do with either, unless you take the fact that people make pixel art of Red Mages in the classic mode.

I’m talking about Minecraft.

This gem is by an indie developer by the name of Notch, and it couldn’t be more perfect for passing the time or playing with friends. Some of you may have even heard of it by way of Team Fortress 2 or some other channel, but the real experience isn’t the fun little Lego-esque mode found free on the site but the paid Alpha version.

While some may whine that I’m suggesting they pay for something they can get for free, let me say fervently that this is far from true. The game itself has changed fundamentally from the cute little block-stacker you once played into a, well, survival-horror Lego game for lack of a better genre. Yeah, you heard me.

If that’s not enough to sell you on it (you’re a really hard sell, aren’t you?), the game’s developer just released an update adding multiplayer functionality to the Alpha mode, so very soon you’ll be able to run from zombies and build fortresses to weather the epic nights in-game WITH FRIENDS!

Yeah, you know you’re sold. Plus, I’ve got a server for the alpha and you’re invited once Notch irons out the bugs and gives me the ability to ban you if I need to (don’t start fires and you’ll probably be fine). Just… play it, love it, buy it, and comment if you want to get in on the server when they release a couple more updates!

<<<Minecraft>>>

Diplomas all around!

Negligence is ugly, isn’t it? The state of the blogosphere is such that if you don’t have anything to say, you poke a hole in the side of your brain and hope that after the blood and fluids run out, there’ll be a few words spilled onto the text editor. That’s not to say I dislike blogging. Au contrare, I’d like to continue this blog. Here’s the first post of said continuation.

I’ve graduated. Yeah, you heard me. Maybe not from anime, maybe not from my own nerdy-ness, but I’ve graduated.

Man, it feels good to say that.

But saying that leaves a couple of as-of-yet unanswered questions: where do I go after this? What’s an anime lover to do in the real world, at least for a few years?

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There seems to be quite the fuss about visual novels abroad, recently. From the worse ones dealing with really sensitive subjects in a really insensitive manner, the whole genre has become the sum of its worst parts, causing us to forget something really interesting: a lot of recent anime has been inspired by the genre. For my next post, I’ll be talking about the genre and what it’s done for anime, but in the mean time, here’s a comic after the jump about that: Read More »

Dürer_Melancholia_sI

A nice woodblock print, don't you agree?

Some links may not be safe for work, though all are tasteful, and reading the post itself will, of course, be fine for your health.

Recently, I’ve had some experience with Asian cinema that have led me to believe that the whole establishment has something to it. Influenced by postmodern views on the meaning of story and plot, the films have turned an eye inward and seriously examined themselves as singular works before considering what the audience wants as American films are wont to do.

Further than anime, which has intrinsic value as entertainment even when I’m just watching something more fanservicey than deep, and some Chinese action flicks, before recently I’ve found most Asian films to be, well, rather trite. However, my experience with Oldboy, as mentioned a couple of posts ago, started a sort of butterfly effect that ended with my downloading about seven Korean films and one Taiwanese film to round it off a bit and make it a nice, even number.

You’d think that, living in Japan at the moment, I’d have downloaded a couple of Japanese films.

That’s not the case. In fact, I’d venture to say that Japanese films, single-handedly, had turned me against the vast majority of Asian cinema by virtue of being the pithy works I referred to earlier. As a matter of preference, these campy films, interestingly so influenced by anime as a genre, have failed to capture my imagination in an inexplicable manner. Read More »

Visual Style? Check.

Visual Style? Check.

Before I go into my deeply personal confession of my love for something only slightly related to anime but totally related to Japan, I’d like to note that since the style has changed, back posts will be evermore oddly formatted. I’ve tried a couple of changes to offset this odd and noticeable change, but I’d like you as the reader to bear with it. That in mind, これを始めようか?

I noted to a friend a couple of days ago that I’m an absolute whore for the Final Fantasy series. Anything they throw at me I hoard greedily like some sort of dragon.

The most recent example of this was when I borrow my brother’s Final Fantasy XII and, after playing about 15 hours, realized my abiding love for it and immediately went out and bought my own copy. Was this necessary? Of course not! Buying an extra copy of any series of games, especially when your brother isn’t going to ask for his copy back is ludicrous.

Or is it? If you’ve been keeping up with your Squenix (because I’m guessing that’s how you actually write that bastardization of Square-Enix), you’ll know that the company’s been struggling to put new IPs on the market. Sure, they have a thriving business at the moment, but also, if you’ll note, that’s been from nice products like FFVII:AC on PSP, FFVII on PSN, FFIV:The After Story on WiiWare, FFIV on DS, and… are you noticing a pattern here? That’s right. They’re all old news. Maybe new takes on old news, but if I wanted that I’d go to a fan fiction website and read to my heart’s content.

No, this isn’t right… what happened to the Squaresoft I knew and loved? Nothing, it seems, as you’ll soon know if you Read More »

This weekend was amazing as far as movies go. First, my friends and I watched a couple of Asian films including “Old Boy” based on a manga by the same name about… well, revenge, if you get down to it, but its definitely not for the faint of heart or the conservative. That said, it was a masterful piece of cinema.

Another masterful piece of cinema, though, was… I’ll give you a hint:

Is that a new Eva pilot?

Is that a new Eva pilot?

For more on that, take the jump and Read More »

I love you guys. You know that, right? Here: enjoy.

This is short, and I realize that, but I’m bored and in China. I’ve gotta amuse myself somehow, right?

In case some of you weren’t aware, and you really should have been, Zach has recently gotten himself over to Japan (Kyoto, specifically).

I don’t know about you, but for him, it’s basically a dream come true. This semester is like an academic wet dream for him, come to life. The difference? It’s not just in his pants. It’s everywhere.

That sounded wrong.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure we’ll all be seeing tons of new content from him. Zach will be on anime/manga/Akihabara overload, and I somewhat selfishly expect to benefit from it. Consider this a challenge to our favorite geek of all things Japanese; I’m not sure if it’ll see the light of day, as I’m just a contributor for the blog and have to submit everything for review from Zach, but if so, more power to him. That’ll mean Zach has balls… otaku balls. Made out of old crushed up old Nintendo cartridges, or decapitated pokemon, or something.

animepaperwallpapers_neon-genesis-evangelion_ned-suki16_2560x1600_89258I’m about to go home for a couple of weeks before departing for the exotic locale of Kyoto. Before that, though, it seems I’ve started rewatching some of the seminal classics of anime, starting with Neon Genesis Evangelion and Fushigi Yuugi.

You’d be surprised exactly how much an ending can make or beak an anime. As I began to rewatch Evangelion, I mentioned to my friends who I watched it with that how they felt about the anime would be almost completely colored by their feelings about its ending.They looked at me skeptically, as if I was telling them something kind of preposterous, especially since they were enjoying it so far.

But as the End of Evangelion ended last night at 2am, and Asuka uttered “Kimochi warui,” the looks on their faces said it all; they weren’t sure about whether they liked it or not. The truth is, they felt betrayed. They understood a good part of what was said, but on the whole, they didn’t feel like it provided the closure. This begs the question, though: is “closure” owed to us? Do all great animes even have “closure”?

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