Tag Archives: anime

Spring 2011 Anime: Soft Tennis

The whole chibi thing is so overdone, but I would be lying if I said it weren't effective. Ka-kawaiiiii......

Number of Episodes Aired:1

Streaming: Nowhere? Let me know if I’m wrong, please.

Alternate Title Suggestions: Afternoon Tea Tennis, Light Tennis Club with Cows, Tennis and Raquet With PantyShot

I don’t usually like doing the whole “it’s just like [insert name of popular show] with [insert different activity]” thing, but in this instance, calling Soft Tennis “Like K-ON!! with Tennis” isn’t that far off. If you like K-ON!! and you have a healthy tolerance for double-entendre, you may enjoy this show; if you’re one of those people who watched K-ON!! and went “But where’s the PLOT?”, stay far away.

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Spring 2011 Anime: Battle Girls: Time Paradox

Hideyoshi and Mitsuhide's fight- actually pretty funny.

No. of Episodes Aired: 2

Currently Streaming on Crunchyroll

Alternate Title Suggestions: Better Than Koihime Musou, Usagi and Dogbert’s Excellent Adventure

Jon from Project Haruhi has been waging a brave internet campaign to get people to realize that Battle Girls: Time Paradox (also known as Sengoku Otome) is actually not bad, so I decided to give it a shot. It’s also being simulcast on Crunchyroll, so it fits with my new “try everything on CR this season” policy (although I made that policy before I realized that CR was apparently trying to license all of Japan one drawing at a time, which is why I’m currently up to my elbows in loli succubi and gender-swapped warlords, but whatever.)

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Thoughts on America’s Greatest Otaku Episode #7

Summary:In this episode the tour concludes, Team Mangaloids gets to visit yet another convention, murals are painted, and I learn that I have a bone to pick with the New Orleans Haiku Society.

I’m not going to talk much about the venues this time, because none of them really blew me away or were particularly bad either, so there isn’t much to report. I am convinced though that most motions in Kyudo are done for the sake of looking awesome and for no other reason.

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Spring 2011 Anime: Hanasaku Iroha

Hey lady, you know that guy who likes you? Go live with him instead- you're 16, it's probably legal somewhere in the south.

Number of Episodes Aired: 2

Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Alternate Title Suggestions: I Can’t Believe My Grandma is This Sadistic, Flowers+Depression

The amazing thing to me about Hanasaku Iroha is that, with its premise, it should be horrendously depressing, yet mysteriously, it’s not. Our plucky protagonist Ohana gets kicked out of her normal life when her flighty Mom decides to run off with her boyfriend (it doesn’t matter why), and is sent to go live at her grandmother’s country inn- where she’s forced to do physical labor for her keep and is basically treated like dirt. Even Grandma gives her no sympathy, since she disowned Ohana’s mother and no longer considers them part of the family.

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X-Men Episode #2: Poor Man’s Storm

You might think from this screenshot that Ms. Stormu is a no-nonsense, lightning-slinging deity; you would be wrong.

Summary: They’ve made Storm weak in order to make Cyclops’ ongoing PTSD over the whole “my girlfriend became a giant psychic bird-creature and died” thing an actual problem for the X-Men, and it’s a huge pain. While this episode is better than the first by virtue of stuff actually happening, these people are still really unlikable for some reason- something not likely to be fixed by introducing Emma “I’m a bitch, deal with it” Frost next episode. Oh dear.

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Spring 2011 Anime: Nichijou (My Ordinary Life)

If there's any one theme so far this season, it's that little girls have dirty, dirty minds.

No. of Episodes Aired so far: 2

Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Alternate Title Suggestions: School With Goats, Azumanga Daioh -1, Desperate Attention Ploy Theater

I’m going to be a rebel and not title these Spring 2011 anime posts “First Impressions”, firstly because everyone else does it, secondly because I may not be getting to some of these until they’re several episodes in, taking away from the idea of it being an impression of the beginning.

After being too busy to recap/review much anime lately, this season I decided to at least to try all the spring simulcasts on Crunchyroll, plus another select few. The only show being recapped here on an episode-by-episode basis is X-Men, because apparently, I hate myself, but maybe that will change.

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X-Men Episode #1: Instant X-Men, Just Add Angst

A brooding-as-usual Cyclops: we could have done without this.

Summary: I can’t decide if the problem is that these really aren’t the characters I know, or if it’s just oddly written for a first episode, but something is definitely off with this anime adaptation of my favorite superheroes; so far, Beast is the only redeeming feature.

I don’t know about this most recent X-Men adaptation, I just don’t know- is it boring to me because I’ve been an X-Men fan for a long time, and I’ve seen all of this already? Or is it just boring because it’s boring?

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Thoughts on America’s Greatest Otaku #6

Just between you and me, if you have to drive two hours to get to the main Otaku spot in "Louisville," I don't think that city makes the grade.

Summary: This week’s episode had two distinct themes: traditional Japanese culture (as opposed to the more typical pop culture), and Dom getting the snot beat out of her repeatedly. Surprisingly, both were quite good.

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Thoughts on America’s Greatest Otaku #5

Team Mangaloids enjoy smoking ninja food in a restaurant I would go to if I weren't terrified of people pretending to stab me while I eat- seriously, that's what they do at Ninja NYC.

Now that we’re past the halfway point, how is this show being received, anyway? I don’t see much talk about it online (other than the quasi-pathetic group that cropped up when the show started to say that it was not cool enough for them, for they must be so, so cool), yet according to analytics, a lot of the visitors to Otakusphere seem to come here looking for more about this show. Also, I do tend to avoid the corners of the internet where the comments would annoy the hell out of me, which is 99% of the internet, so I really don’t know what’s going on anyway.

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The Significance of Morning Rescue(?)

Not content with merely deconstructing (by which I mean, ripping the guts out of) its own genre, Puella Magi Madoka Magica is sort of deconstructing the culture that has grown up around anime fansubbing as well.

For those that know about Otakusphere but somehow don’t yet know about Madoka (a group that probably contains all of two people, but hey, I aim to please), fansub groups have been keeping the Japanese commercials for the beverage “Morning Rescue” in their cuts of the popular dark magical girl show, and the commercial has become internet-popular. Due to demand for the actual product, Jlist (and possibly other retailers I’m not aware of) have started carrying the drink for people outside of Japan to order. I don’t know the numbers, but Peter (owner of Jlist) has tweeted that the drink is selling well.

Fansubs of unlicensed shows are considered more or less morally neutral; while digitally downloadable versions of licensed shows can be considered theft (and let’s just leave it at that, without getting into the whole piracy/theft/copyright infringement definition quagmire), downloads of unlicensed shows don’t really do anything; you’re seeing something that isn’t meant for you, since you won’t be viewing the advertising the way the targeted market will (or have access to the product even if you do see the advertising), but you aren’t finding a sneaky way around an actual purchase, either, because there’s no actual product available for you to buy.

However, when fansubbers start leaving in commercials, and those commercials lead to actual sales of the Japanese products that companies paid the TV station to advertise, doesn’t that end up becoming a net positive?

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mean it’s a net positive in financial terms. For every one person who orders a bottle of Morning Rescue from Jlist after watching a fansub of Madoka Magica, there are probably about a thousand people who will just watch it and do nothing- not enough to make the company that makes the drink a lot of money.

Still, you have to wonder; if the world has become flat enough, thanks to global retailing and shared interest in different subcultures, that the commercial is creating the same desire for a product that it was meant to inspire in the targeted audience, doesn’t the once-lowly fansub watcher therefore become part of the targeted audience? From Morning Rescue’s perspective, they don’t care if Madoka fans live in Japan or China or Timbuctoo; they want people to watch the show, see their commercial, and buy their product. If someone in the U.S. orders a case of Morning Rescue based on the commercials they saw in a legally “gray” fansub, are they any less valid as part of the target audience than a person in Tokyo who bought one? It’s still advertising dollars well spent.

I haven’t been covering Madoka Magica on a regular basis, mostly because my recaps of individual episodes would end up being a .WAV file featuring the sound of my jaw hitting the floor continuously. But I think the Morning Rescue phenomenon that spawned from the Madoka fansubs has really interesting implications for the future of digital anime distribution, legal and otherwise- I mean, I’m not sure what they ARE yet, but they’re certainly interesting.