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Category Archives: Rant

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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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 »

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 »

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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moe-46550-2008-ani-com-august-bleed_through-bounen_no_xamdou-nishimura_haruWhat a week this has been. Characterized by Xam’d, Halo 3, Sins of a Solar Empire, and the general lethargy that goes along with being cooped up with very little to do than stare out the window at the icey world around me, I’ve actually come up with a post. Yes, I know, my idleness should have been spent posting much more than I have recently, but oh, well. Hindsight is 20/20.

That said, I haven’t even been watching as much anime as I would have liked to in my free time. But what time has been spent watching anime, has, as I mentioned earlier, been spent on Xam’d, which leads me to the subject of my post: Anime has thrived, thus far, on a strong contingent of rabid followers, labeled otaku by some and weeaboos by others, but what significance does it hold for you? How different is that from the past?

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animepaperscans_cowboy-bebop_nat_829Zach and I are doing guest posts on each other’s blogs this week. I run Tech + Lifestyle , a blog devoted to all things nerdtastic and geektacular (particularly PC gaming and hardware). Recently, we had the absolutely brilliant idea of switching for a post – a prince & the pauper sort of deal, if you will. I fancy myself the prince, as I’ve got way more views on my blog than he does. Anyway, here’s my take on anime, admittedly both generalized and biased. Read on if you dare…

I’ve got a slightly different take on anime than my friend Zach. He’s got this devoted, love all things anime, gotta-catch-’em-all attitude when it comes Japanese stuff. In fact, just about anything from that island nation is holy to him (except some of the really messed up stuff). If it comes in manga or anime form, even better. I’d like to think that I take a *slightly* more measured approach.

My first memory of consciously watching anime was in middle school -Dragon Ball Z, if you must know. It was a phase that ended rather quickly, in all honesty. From there, I experienced smatterings of Full Metal Alchemist, Outlaw Star, Cowboy Bebop, and the ilk, in large part thanks to Adult Swim.

It was only recently that I began watching anime with any sort of purpose or regularity. I think what kicked it off was an evening relaxing at my friend Raymond’s apartment. The son of two tel-com bigwigs, he lived in Japan from the age of two until around eleven or twelve. It goes without saying that he’s got a healthy selection of anime box sets, which I came across while looking for a movie to watch. I casually mentioned that I had seen a few episodes of Cowboy Bebop, and rather liked it. When I left, I had that and a couple other box sets under my arm, and I’ve been watching the stuff ever since.

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Nostalgia...

Nostalgia...

Christmas break has been good to me. I got lots of presents, I earned money, and my grades weren’t bad either. Beside that, though, I managed to dive neck-deep into a new… err… old anime. But before I launch into my detailed rant about the greatness of classic anime, I would like to announce the addition of a contributor to the blog. In addition to my sparse posts, he’ll be adding his own views of anime, mostly as a newcomer to the genre. I thought he could provide a fresh look at some series anime fans have taken for granted and also find some new ones that they haven’t yet dug up.

That isn’t to say that an old anime fan can’t find series that have collected a pleasant layer of dust on them. On the contrary, over the break I was suddenly possessed to find the anime Touch, a cute and interesting sports/romance/comedy from the widely untapped resources of the 1980s’ anime library. More after the jump…

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Gundam 00?! For Halloween?! I love imageboards...

Gundam 00?! For Halloween?! I love imageboards...

Some of you might remember my post on Macross Frontier a while ago. After that post, I really didn’t find the drive to pick the series back up until last week when it finally ended. Though, I have to say that that may have been the best thing I could have done, since it didn’t seem to have enough energy to keep me watching week after week.

However, this wasn’t the only anime I watched… in fact, between the end of Code Geass, which I wrote about earlier, and finally picking up Gundam 00, I’ve found that anime really has brought back the mecha genre in full force.

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