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Category Archives: Serious

For serious analysis, reviews, etc. We promise that everything herein is at least 62.8% correct, as measured ten years ago by the FDA.

[I have finals now, so a little bit of a short post.

I haven’t watched ANYTHING in the past week because for the first time in while ‘sleep’ exceeded ‘anime’ on my priority list. What is happening to me?

Anyhow, content:]

I was GOING to write about [C], but then a friend made me listen to “Pendulum” from the Shiki OST. It was creepy enough for me to give it a try, and considering that I haven’t seriously watched anything for several weeks with the end of school, I decided to marathon it.

BEST.
IDEA.
EVER.

So I can get a little fanboyish, what of it? Shiki was good. Quite good. To be honest, I didn’t know anything going into it other than that it was some sort of horror anime. Within the first few episodes it feels like a sort of Higurashi clone, but then I saw the “insect bites”.

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Insect bites? Really?

 

Oh fun, no? A vampire story. And it’s going to take them all of three-quarters of the show to figure the damn thing out, and THEN they’ll kill them with stakes and silver bullets. Since they’re vampires. And it works.

Surprisingly, it’s not that clichéd. Which made me happy. Shiki DO die from stakes to the heart, but that’s not assumed from them being vampires; rather, our beloved sick Toshio-sensei dissects his resurrected wife. Cute scene.

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Cleaning up the blood, I hope, you sick bastard.

 

As the main character is a doctor, the show goes above and beyond any other show I’ve seen with medical knowledge. You’d think that the guy who made this was a doctor or something (she’s not), since characters are diagnosed with everything from anemia (two different types) to lupus, and [SPOILER] it’s never lupus.

Anyhow, the plot is MUCH better than I would have assumed. (Spoilers follow.) Two episodes from the end I found myself asking “what happened to Natsuno cooperating with Toshio? He hasn’t shown up at ALL.” Shiki pulls a slick one and uses the answer to that question to answer another question: “How did Toshio kill Chizuru?”, while killing off Natsuno in a rather badass but sad way. Meanwhile, the story doesn’t end with the good guys winning (as I had expected) nor with the bad guys winning (only one of them survives) but with everything being utterly destroyed. Cool way to finish the series, I suppose. Although I didn’t want Megumi to die. Those tracts.

Animation-wise, two words: DAT HAIR.

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And the best:
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There IS more to this than the hair; it’s just the most noticable part.

As I mentioned previously, the music was the part that introduced me to the series. It’s no classic like Hirisawa’s Mousou Dairinin soundtrack (no trolls please) but it is coherent and makes the series feel properly creepy. And “Kuchidzuke” gets stuck in your head after a while. Sadly, the best tracks are used sparingly: “Pendulum” only plays in full in the fourth episode, although the first three notes are used as a “dun dun dunnn” throughout the series.

Finally, this show has its fair share of badass characters, but you can check that out yourself. Basically everyone who dies and has any sort of significance gets an awesome death. Except Chizuru, but if you’re into gore that’ll be fine too. Seishin stars in the most satsifying last half-second of video since the end of Portal 2 (look it up if you haven’t seen it), at least if you’re a fan of the Shiki, like I am (topic for later).

I would dump a large amount of screencaps here if it weren’t for the effort involved. Much easier is this:

8.5–9.0/10.

Watch it.

EDIT: Oops, I lied.

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[I sincerely apologize for the lack of posts on my end. As AC has mentioned, I was slaving away at a thesis, which, when compounded with familial obligations, resulted in very scarce activity in ZG-land.]

I’ve been a fan of Mecha Musumes for as long as I can recall. The very concept of a marriage of the human body with the robotic appendages and bits from familiar units resonate with my personal tastes. One could point to Strike Witches and Infinite Stratos as examples of this artistic genre…should they risk tarnishing the sacred institution.

Ask your average mecha musume partisan who Humikane Shimada is and they’ll tell you he’s the man who gave birth to Strike Witches. While this is true, said partisan will go on to state that Shimada created the Mecha Musume movement. Newer generations of fans will take this at face value, but this claim will undoubtedly set off alarms in the minds of the much more savvy members of the seasoned connoisseurs. The reason, of course, is rather simple: Shimada did not start the genre.

Set the calendars back to the 80’s and you’ll find the origin of Mecha Musume. Enter Akitaka Mika, a mechanical designer known for his work on ZZ and 0083. His fusion of Mobile Suits with girls preceded Shimada by a good 20 years, yet the popular credit for his originality has eluded Mika, a sad reality ultimately lost on the masses.

With these two images in mind, let’s compare them with a Shimada work which many would consider to be Mecha Musume.

Mika, the progenitor of the genre, visually defined what it means to be considered Mecha Musume. His works feature no more than 25% flesh, with the rest being machine. Shimada, conversely, keeps the ratio to be about 50-50. Using Mika The Creator’s work as a standard, Shimada fails the litmus test of Mecha Musume.

In support of the original Mecha Musumes, artists such as zhenlin and kieyza adhere to the basic principle of the robot-to-girl ratio being in favor to the machine.

Yes, there is a HWS variant for the Nu but not the Hi-Nu, but the unit name in the picture itself says Hi-Nu HWS.Hopefully a Gundam Mk. V Sacchin will be able to get her own route.

Despite violating the spirit of Mecha Musumes, I do accredit Shimada with making the anthropomorphism of military hardware a mainstream practice. To consider his work to be Mecha Musumes, however, is an affront to all of the groundwork that Mika has built up. A simple trip to Pixiv or Danbooru reveals a myriad of works which are either more in line with Mika or Shimada, depending on the artist. With such a nuanced, yet important distinction between the two schools of Mecha Musumes, the only proper course is for the Shimada-ites to cease labeling their works as Mecha Musumes and become their own genre.

-Zeonic Glory

[I was originally going to write about Kara no Kyoukai, but am too lazy. Zeonic may do a piece on it instead at a later time.]

Glancing over chartfag’s cowboybibimbop’s Spring 2011 preview, I happened to land on this small, unassuming box labeled “Nichijou” at the perfect time, being when I had nothing important to do yet was not tired enough to sleep. Considering that my current watch list consisted of SHAFT stuff and that one noitaminA show, I decided to waste a half-hour watching it.

Mediocre.
Yes, they are sitting on a trash heap, it would seem.

And, wait, what’s more: there’s already an OVA, too!

One hour later, it actually seems to be a better show than that pesky little “Kyoto Animation” label would suggest. Although at first glance this seems to be a futile attempt to imitate Azumanga Daiou, upon watching it I would compare it more to Pani Poni Dash! for it’s overall weirdness and unconventionality. And even that does not do justice to Nichijou’s humor and appeal.

RPG!
This doesn’t actually happen, but I’ll wait for it to anyways.

Pani Poni Dash! was fundamentally about its strangeness. A small gag, such as Miyako’s high forehead, became a topic of discussion in almost every episode. As far as I have been able to tell, Nichijou doesn’t give the weirdness in itself more than a passing acknowledgement. When a boy rides into school on a goat, no one comments: “Is that a goat?” or brings attention to it until the “plot” moves on to a point where it can make a proper joke about it.

The Azumanga Daiou factor is very much present in Nichijou as well, but I don’t want to get anyone else’s hopes up: this is not Azumanga. (ed. note: Obviously.) Good. That being said, it has the same episodic feel to it, with some parts depicting everyday occurrences while others throw caution to the wind and put in the full “what?” factor which Nichijou’s characters set up so well. The show varies across the gamut of slice-of-life possibilities, some parts being not so much funny as simply cute and fun to watch, to an especially memorable action scene, drawn out to almost two minutes, of the catching of a dropped wiener, and other parts which had me laughing simply due to their humor. In short, it is a show which covers the entirety of the slice-of-life genre within an unpredictable universe.

My main problem with this show is the little bit that says “Kyoto Animation”. Now anyone who knows me knows that I have not been a big fan of KyoAni in general, and in particular the past few years of their work have not seemed so solid to me. (In fact, the last thing I can say I truly enjoyed by them was Lucky Star. Commence flame war.) So, while I can say that the first two episodes of Nichijou have been surprisingly enjoyable, I feel that I am setting myself up for a major disappointment later in the season.

Any last words?
Alas, my expected reaction.

Well, a man can hope, can’t he?

—actorclavilis

In all forms of media today, the sales figures are floated in the economic ocean, with their popularity being the largest factor in maintaining their buoyancy. This rings especially true for the anime industry, which mainly focuses on the sale of DVDs and Blu-ray releases of its shows and movies. The sales figures for anime is not exclusive to Japan, however, as much of it is localized and released in the United States, sometimes accounting for a full 40% of a particular franchise’s sales. With the advent of the Internet, small circles of individuals in Japan record episodes of a show during its broadcast and upload them onto the Internet, where they are taken in by private circles who translate the original Japanese audio and graft the newly translated English subtitles onto the video file.

This process of translating and inserting subtitles, colloquially known by anime fans on the Internet as “fansubbing”, is performed exclusively by private groups of fans of that particular show or movie, and not by an official distributor or localization team. These fansub groups, as they are called, typically translate a series while it is airing in the current broadcast season in Japan. The episodes are then distributed throughout the Internet via direct download websites and torrents, usually hosted on the fansub group’s own blog. Many supporters of the anime industry denounce the work of fansub groups, labeling it as “piracy”, “thievery”, and “the cancer that is killing the anime industry”.

Fansubbers provide invaluable benefits to the Internet Era’s anime community. By translating the current shows of a particular broadcast season, fansub groups allow the latest shows to be easily accessible to the large and ever growing Western fanbase. Anime fans in America, for example, would normally be unable to watch the newest offerings from Japan until at least a year after its initial airing, thanks to the lengthy licensing and localization process that American must wade through in order to port a series over the water. Being able to sit down with their Japanese brethren and watching the same things together enables anime fans across the globe to unite in discussions about a particular show. Series-based forum RPs such as Project R are good examples of this, as their purpose is not simply to discuss a specific show, but rather to reenact and revise it through active poster participation. It is not uncommon to find a geographically diverse user base in such RPs as well.

Critics of these freelance translators claim that this service threatens the profits that a series creator makes on their title. This, however, is not the case, as fansub groups perform their services without charging any sort of price for their work. In addition, disclaimers are inserted within the episodes which explicitly state that the fansub is free and that it may not be sold or rented to any other party. While it is still free distribution of a company’s intellectual property, no profit is made by any fansub group involved, mitigating any fiscal loss. Fansubbers also generate widespread interest in a show in the Western community, which can bolster sales. A good example of this is the series Code Geass, which, thanks to fansubbing, created a large internet fandom. American fans waited with bated breath for their new favorite show to be localized and promptly purchased it in droves, resulting in over 1 million discs being sold worldwide.

Although the debate over the nature of fansubbing rages on to this very day, new anti-fansub measures taken by the companies may quell such arguments, as the corporate arm moves in to corner the fansub “market”, with the power of simulcasting. Companies have begun to translate, sub, and stream a selection of shows from the current broadcast season. Sunrise has presented another interesting tactic in the campaign against fansubs: simultaneous release. Every installment of Gundam Unicorn is released in dual audio with multiple subtitle options throughout the world on the same day. This essentially eliminates the language and location obstacles that fansubs were created to mitigate. As of now, however, very few series (if any, aside from the aforementioned Gundam Unicorn) receive such treatment, allowing enough space in the doorway for fansubbers to exist. While some may find the very notion of modifying and redistributing someone else’s creation to be morally abhorrent, fansub groups ultimately tear down the linguistic and geographic barriers of the anime fandom, especially in the absence or failure of corporations to do so in the same capacity.

 

-Zeonic Glory