piranha: "wait, are you gay?" -- "what do you think i've been doing with you all this time?" (are you gay?)
this one got the hetboy otaku's entitled knickers in a knot, so i knew i wanted to watch it.

haruka loves to be immersed in water, and to swim in it. in elementary school, he won in a swimming tournament along with his fellow swimming club members, makoto, nagisa, and rin. good times, but rin abruptly went his separate way afterwards.

time has passed and memories receded when in the middle of their uneventful high school lives rin reappears and challenges haruka to a match, wanting to show off his overwhelming swimming prowess. not wanting it to end like this, haru and the other boys create the iwatobi high school swimming club in their school where nobody else has an interest in swimming, while rin joins the swim club of a highly competitive high school.

i'd like to wholeheartedly support this unexpected foray into male objectification from kyoto animation, the studio heretofore engaging in reams and reams of female objectification. it seems like such poetic justice. the animation is better than average, the sound excellent, catchy OP and ED, well-chosen voice talent, and wow, kyoani can animate water like no other. however, the story and characters are thoroughly cliched -- maybe on purpose -- but it felt all too thin to me. i think this is best enjoyed as a light and mildly amusing parody of its archetypes where all the roles are played by boys. for those who want to see it, there is a steady stream of homoerotic subtext. but if one doesn't want to see gayness in every interaction of two boys, one can honestly watch this as solely a story of childhood friendships and sports rivalry, without there being any love interest.

it's unfortunately for my taste not actually gay. there isn't even a true moment of romance here, nevermind of sexual activity. no kissing (and we don't even get close to it). it is a perfect example of plausible deniability. the fan service is quite classy (certainly when compared with most bouncy-bouncy-boob fan service directed at het fanboys); there's no ecchi, no lingering on sexual characteristics, no sexual cast jokes, no accidental wardrobe malfunction. we just get miles and miles of lean swimmers' bods, which are conveniently scantily clad because: swimming.

one thing i really liked, because i hate the "scheming female" trope in BL, is that the main girl in the cast is not used to come between any of the boys, she's competent and clear-headed, makes a great manager, and looooves their muscles. no, really, plausible deniability even stretches to the potential fujoshi. so, weirdly enough for a story inviting me to match up the boys, i much preferred her to her mopey jerk brother. yeah, definitely not enough gayness for me here.

not based on a manga, but a light novel, so i can't see whether the source material is more satisfying.

aaand... it just got a 2nd season. huh. i guess it was successful enough.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
this is one of those strange occurrences where i got sucked into something i would never think i'd be attracted to. i only watched the anime because i am following two of its seiyuu around; suzumura ken'ichi and konishi katsuyuki, and that led me to find the manga and then the first live action series, and now the second -- i haven't previously touched live action adaptation of manga at all.

the manga is josei (marketed at young women), and it has a strong female lead, which is always a good thing to see -- i am still amazed how japan with all of its gender inequality creates so much fiction with competent female characters who can handle themselves and don't need any guy to rescue them from distress. now, that would of course interest me, but it's also comedy, and i am very careful with japanese comedy because 95% of it misses for me. and indeed i am glad i didn't see the live action first, because it would not have had the same effect as the anime had; i doubt i would have checked out the manga and the anime.
click for in-depth notes; images; spoiler alert )

and speaking of crushes, fujiwara motoo is still god. bump of chicken can make me happy even if i am down. i should order the new CD.

piranha: red origami crane (Default)
let me preface this with stating that i generally don't like shoujo (marketed to girls), and i especially don't like shoujo romance, because it's filled with cliches. ditsy damsel in permanent distress is surrounded by a harem of guys who all want to date her, she gets rescued (often from fainting) by super-good-looking, super-capable, super-everything boy -- who can't express his emotions; there's a rival (often underhanded), and there'll be a lot of stupid misunderstandings which could easily be solved if the characters only TALKED to each other.

and you know what? kimi ni todoke sort of offers the cliches all up too. and yet i love it.
read on to find out why )
you know what it reminds me most of? nobuta wo produce. which has a stronger stress on friendship and very little on romance, and is overall much more... true and touching.  but the overall feel of it is somewhat similar. it's a feel-good story; just don't expect it to BE a second nobuta wo produce.

the anime has just started its second season, and the manga is at 13 volumes and ongoing, so i am looking forward to more of this; so far the anime has been very true to the manga.  oh, and the manga is licensed by viz.  there is also a live action film, but i haven't seen it yet; the cast looks good though.
piranha: (sai)
returning to the study of japanese means that i'm again mainlining anime in my free time; i've got quite a bit stored up from a couple of years ago.

tales of the abyss (shounen[1]) is based on a video game. normally i avoid such anime if i haven't played the game, because the anime tends to be directed at people who are familiar with the game, which means newcomers often don't have implied information and it becomes hard to figure out what's actually going on. but hey, this one has suzuki chihiro voicing not just one, but two characters, and i've made it my life's goal to watch/listen to everything he's done :). click to read the whole thing )

overall i'd recommend it for fans of the game, and of anime in general, but not to people who want an interesting intro to anime, or an outstanding example of it.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
bright, blue sky, three pigeons on a wire; two looking at the third

marathoned doujin work today. osana najimi learns that her friend tsuyuri draws erotic manga. after an initial shock, she thinks this might be just her thing when she finds out how many volumes another childhood friend of hers sells -- she's got money on her brain. the trouble is that, while she has a lot of fun drawing, she isn't very good.

this sounded promising, but it's mediocre at best. the only worthwhile character is tsuyuri because she's drily straightforward and not at all embarrassed. we don't learn anything about actual doujin work, and the animation is poor.

3 big yawns.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
new series:

zoku natsume yuujinchou (続 夏目友人帳) -- sequel to natsume yuujinchou (夏目友人帳), which i am currently watching.  Natsume Takashi has the ability to see spirits, which he has long kept secret. However, once he inherits a strange book that belonged to his deceased grandmother, Reiko, he discovers the reason why spirits surround him. Containing the names of these spirits, a binding contract was formed between the spirits and the owner of the book. Now, Natsume is determined to free the spirits and dissolve the contracts. With the help of a spirit cat, his days are filled trying to return the names to these spirits. [ANN] inoue kazuhiko voices the cat, and does an awesome job (the cat has two distinct voices for its two forms).

tetsuwan birdy DECODE: 02 -- sequel to tetsuwan birdy DECODE (鉄腕バーディーDECODE) and alternate retelling tetsuwan birdy OVA (鉄腕バーディー), which i've watched.  Federation investigator Birdy chases the space criminal Geega through space to Earth, where he hides in the entertainment industry under a human disguise. Birdy goes undercover herself, posing as famous model “Arita Shion” that often uses a ‘space girl’ look. A male student, Senkawa, stumbles upon a fight between the two one night in an abandoned building only to be severed in half as he is used as a shield by Geega against Birdy. Birdy heals him from imminent death in some fashion- but Senkawas body, and life, are now changed and permanently linked to Birdy. [ANN]

maria-sama ga miteru 4th season (マリア様がみてる 4thシーズン), which i'll probably tape for the paramour, being as it's yuri.  the "lillian school for girls" is an exclusive all girl's catholic school. the school has a tradition that older girls take a younger girl as their little sister or "soeur" in order to instruct and look out for them.  uh huh.

kemono no souja erin (獣の奏者エリン) -- written by uehashi nahoko, the creator of seirei no moribito, which is one of my favourite anime, and that's enough reason to watch this.  :)  erin is a young woman who is drawn into a war between kingdoms. she has the ability to command animals by playing a musical instrument.

ride back (ライドバック) -- the story of a girl and her "iron horse" robot motorcycle in 2020, a tumultous time of anti-government student protests.  this might be good; i like the art.  then again, it might suck because it's mecha.  we'll see.  among the cast: paku romi, miki shinichiro, morikawa toshiyuki.

genji monogatari sennenki (源氏物語千年紀) -- oh yeah. interpretation of the original novel. takahiro sakurai as genji.  totally must see.

maria+holic (まりあ†ほりっく) -- The story centers on a sophomore named Kanako who enrolls in an all-girls school because she has a phobia of men and wants to find her destined yuri partner. She meets a captivating freshman named Mariya who fits her criteria — except her seemingly ideal mate happens to be a cross-dressing sadistic boy. [ANN] i wouldn't normally expect to care since this is yuri, but i saw the first streamed episode, kobayashi yu is delightful as maria, and the whole thing was very funny.  it might become my comic relief anime, and the paramour might like it, depending on how much actual yuri there is beyond kanako's nosebleeding adoration.

hetalia axis powers (ヘタリア axis powers) -- very short gag anime, set in europe between WW1 and WW2, using caricatures of the different nationalities as portrayed by a gaggle of bishounen boys.  this could either fall flat because of being terribly offensive, or be hilariously offensive.  i'm not holding my breath, but i'll give it a try.  paku romi, namikawa daisuke, konishi katsuyuki.

also, xxxholic has an OVA coming, but i don't know when.  [ETA: 2 parts in mid-february.]
piranha: red origami crane (Default)

thanks to the grocery store, there are flowers! i thought this combination particularly striking.

low productivity today, but i rearranged my LJ pictures, since i now have a full year of dailies. if you care to look at the lot by month, here is all of 2008. [defunct as my LJ is gone; will eventually end up on smugmug.]

latest anime completed: okane ga nai. it's BL, so if that offends or bores, skip the rest of this entry.

this is the story of gentle, kind-hearted college student ayase, who is auctioned off on the underground sex slave market in order to pay the debt of his unscrupulous cousin. the highest bidder is kanou, a loan shark with a nasty temper who is utterly smitten with ayase.

and to show his abiding love in good ole yaoi manner, kanou takes ayase home and rapes him. because nothing says loving like forcing somebody who's already scared out of his mind to have sex. then we have hijinks of misunderstandings and ayase being abducted, and kanou coming to his rescue, and trying (unsuccessfully) to not scare him the rest of the time. and since it's yaoi, ayase naturally comes to love his rapist over time, because how can you possibly resist a man who loves you so much that he can't control himself? i swear, when watching this sort of dreck, and knowing how many fans adore it, i think japan is stuck in the 50s.

i haven't kept up with the manga, because i abhor girly, crying uke who are more yasashii (gentle, caring, sacrificing, submissive) than the average anime girl. i realize what the concept of yasashii is trying to get at, and i can even occasionally buy it (such as in the novel answer by sakiya haruhi). but here ayase is just too much of a doormat for me.

the art is really bad in the OVA, no comparison to the manga, the animation is lazy, and the sex (what there is to see) is not erotic. on the other hand, the voice talent is superb, and fukuyama jun is perfect for ayase because he does squealy uke so well (which is why i don't buy drama CDs with fukujun in a leading role; he's a great actor, but i can't stand his voice when he does sex). kosugi juurota plays kanou, and does him very well. supporting are okiayu ryoutarou as well as hatano wataru, and tobita nobuo has my favourite role, that of the tranny. this anime needs more tranny.

buy the drama CDs instead, they're much better (ishida akira plays ayase).
piranha: red origami crane (Default)

since i didn't go anywhere while we've been having the snow of the century, this will have to do in lieu of pretty twinkling lights decorating people's houses.

went grocery shopping today and as expected, got stuck coming back up the driveway. a little shovelling and the judicious application of some cat litter bought for the occasion got the truck going enough to make it around the upper two curves, which were fortunately not as icy as the part where the tires lost grip and we just drifted almost orthogonally to the driveway. it was sorta fun in an odd way; i don't mind this happening in our driveway, and it always proves to me that i can still drive competently in snow and ice even though it happens so rarely.

finished hatenkou yuugi today, which at the very end suddenly became very interesting again after leaving me mostly scratching my head as to whether there was a real story behind the scenes, rather than just a trio of comrades travelling and adventuring together. it's shoujo, but doesn't have the usual stupid shoujo romance tropes.

the main character is a young girl named rahzel, who one day is kicked out of her house by her father with the command to 'see the world'. umm. that comes as a surprise to rahzel, but she's sort of indomitable and decides to just go for it. pretty much right away she meets a stoic, grumpy young man named alzeid whom she tries to befriend despite him not being particularly interested. they're like oil and water, but feel strangely drawn to each other anyway -- which might have something to do with their shared magical powers. soon they're joined by a flippant, musclebound talker by name of baroqueheat (oh, japanese anime names!), and the trio wanders about and helps people who're in distress.

it feels somewhat episodic, but there are clearly background stories alluded to, and over time we get to find out bits and pieces. but not enough to eally satisfy. anime does this a lot, and i hate it -- it's only a good whodunit for me if i can figure it out as we go along, but anime all too often choose the "info dump as denouement" instead.

so while i found the characters attractive and interesting, the lack of insight into what's happening makes me grumpy and leaves me feeling a bit empty. in the very last episode it becomes obvious that there should be a second season. i guess i could read the manga to find out, but first i'll just pout for a while.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)

this icicle is as thick as my arm just below the elbow.

i've been playing with myanimelist.com today. i got almost all my anime in the system, but i am balking at doing the manga as well. i'm already keeping that at baka updates and there is no easy way to import it.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)

OMG, junjou romantica is actually a decent BL anime! i always brace myself with BL anime, because so much of it is execrable. but this one isn't. yay, nakamura shungiku. i mean, it will never be among my favourite anime of all time, but it's definitely watchable. and they even manage to make it erotic at times (which is where almost all BL fails).

after having read a lot of western homoerotic romance it's sorta hard to get back into the japanese tropes, because some of them annoy me even at the best of times -- like the seme/uke dynamic, especially if the uke cries a lot.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
if you want to spring it on us that somebody who looks and behaves all innocent is actually a deceptive bad guy, do not cast koyasu takehito in that role. or maybe disguise his voice while he is in "good guy" mode.

because i get immediately suspicious when i hear him, unless it's clear he is comic relief. :) and so far it's not failed. he's such a marvelous bad guy, and he does the switch from charming (with just a subtle hint of edge) to outright evil so very well. i don't really want them to stop casting him, *snrk*, it's just that it's never a surprise who the hidden bad guy is. but hey, i can live without that surprise.

i think planetes might be the exception, because by now i don't think yuri will suddenly turn into a bad guy -- mostly because it's not really that kind of show. in which case i'll be whining that koyasu was wasted in the role! yuri doesn't say much.

anime stats )
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
zipang (ジパング jipangu) was apparently the first mention of japan in a western account, by marco polo, who took it from chinese -- it was a golden land of legend. the anime is based on the seinen manga (demographic: post-teenage men) of the same name by kawaguchi kaiji, which is serialized in kodansha weekly morning.

the japanese maritime self-defense force vessel mirai (= future), an aegis missile destroyer, along with a couple of other vessels, is enroute to a joint maneuvre with US forces in hawaii. neat the midway islands it encounters strange atmospheric phenomena and when the storm lifts, the mirai finds itself in the middle of a large fleet -- which turns out to be the main imperial japanese naval fleet on the evening of june 4, 1942, just before the battle of midway begins.

if you're now going "huh? what are YOU doing watching this" i can't blame you. i usually avoid military anything like the plague. there is no mansex, and i don't even have the usual excuse that my favourite seiyuu are in this. i found the manga through looking at japanese award-winner lists and it sounded interesting, IF it were to mostly look at the ethical problems such an SFnal plot would provide. and since i've had generally good luck with seinen, i torrented down a few episodes, prepared to stop watching right away if it was all fascination with military hardware and battles.

at 7 the next morning i finished watching the final episode. it was so good, i didn't want to stop watching. there was a little fascination with military hardware, and yeah, there was plenty of action, but the majority of the story was about exactly what i had hoped it might be -- in such a situation will we change history if we act? and if, do we care? if we act, how? rescue people? join the fight? try to end the war? who is our enemy? what do we do if somebody wants to use our power and puts sufficient pressure on us so we can't just walk away? different people had widely varying motivations and rationales; the anime is very strong in defining characters, well-nuanced characters at that, and there is character development as well -- people change under pressure. there was overall refreshingly little jingoism -- no "japan good, US bad", though individual characters had their own opinions.

i learned a good bit of history while watching as well because i kept looking up names and their roles in reality. from what i could tell, while the interactions with the mirai and its crew were of course fictitious, the characters based on real people were done quite well. i can't say in how far the military details were true to reality, but the show had an advisor from the JDS, so it is probably reasonable. some things made no sense to me (the mirai crew itself was well aware of resupply problems, but nobody else who wanted to get their hands on it seemed to be, but maybe i underestimate how quickly a war machine that's 60 years behind could manufacture tomahawk missiles if it got a sample). but that didn't bother me a whole lot; most things seemed realistic to me.

art-wise the anime is quite fine -- though the military hardware got much more lovingly drawn detail as compared to the humans, *snicker*, but the humans are for the most part not hard to distinguish from each other. a lack of eye whites in many characters was mildly offputting, and i would have generally preferred a little more facial detail; they looked a little simplistic, especially compared to the hardware. the effects were mostly good, except some of the CG integration was a little rough. the music was excellent, as was the cinematography. the voice acting was fine, though nobody from my a-list was cast in it; miyano mamoru (yagami light in death note) has a minor role, nojima kenji (sakamoto harumi in princess princess) a secondary one.

it has no cute, no fan service, no homoerotic subtext (yeah, yeah, i know, on a ship filled with men there's gotta be some, but honestly -- i don't want to slash any of these guys, there are bigger issues). it's historically interesting since most of us probably never learned much about the japanese side of things. it's mature. it's thoughtful. the scene where kusaka is in the mirai's library and reads about how WWII ends for japan moved me almost to tears. (he's an information officer whose plane was shot down, and he's been rescued by the mirai -- "zipang", the golden land of legend, is his dream for his country.)

there are 26 episodes (all fansubbed), and while that reaches by far not the end of the manga (which is 34 volumes and ongoing) it is a logical place in which to end, it doesn't just leave the viewer hanging. well, the story between kusaka and kadumatsu (kusaka's rescuer) hangs, but i can live with that. it'd be great if there were to be a sequel though.

zipang has been licensed in english by geneon, but i've not heard the dub, and y'all know how i feel about american dubs in general. i'll be putting this one on my list to buy for when my japanese is good enough. i want to read the manga very badly, but only 9 chapters have been scanlated, by an inactive group. *sigh*. i might just buy it and try for myself, but oy, that's a major undertaking.

if you want to have an intro before torrenting it down (there are active torrents): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVYNLb0nXe0
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
aside from the "death watch" as the paramour lovingly calls it, i'm watching more anime than is good for me. but hey, i'm catching up on years and years of not watching anime when all my pals were doing it. but i am woefully behind on reviewing. as usual, it's easier (because, uh, shorter) to write about the mediocre and outright crappy than about the really good shows. and i've not actually watched a lot of crap.

this last week, for example, only one stands out as so bad that i dropped it after 2 episodes. well, actually after mere bits and pieces of two episodes. i usually give a series at least 4, sometimes 8, because some shows are slow to grow on me. but this one i just could not bear watching at all.

amaenaideyo! features ikkou, a young buddhist monk in training, who lives at a temple with several young priestesses in training. they're all hot cuties and their characters cover some basic sterotypes: tsundere (hot-n-cold), semi-autistic genius, kind speaker to animals, libertine, butchy dyke [*]. ikkou is your typical japanese anime loser boy (self-centred, whiny, irresponsible) with a hidden great power to exorcise spirits -- which is activated by him getting turned on by the sight of a naked or even just partially naked girl (*sigh*). other than that he spends most of his time being picked on by the girls who're generally more capable than he is, while they all go on adventures and cleanse spirits. a mere 2 minutes into the first episode butchy dyke strips tsundere in order to get ikkou to power up and save the day. give it 3 more minutes, and he walks in on the girls in the shower. typical harem comedy, which bores me stiff, and where the humour doesn't even make me crack a smirk.

the character design is instantly forgettable. ikkou is clearly not meant to appeal to anyone, he's even more forgettable than the girls who're at least cute (and mostly well-endowed, naturally, except for the small-breasted one who is jealous of all the big boobies). i decided to watch this despite knowing it wasn't gonna be my thing to begin with because ikkou's voice actor is suzuki chihiro whom i adore, and if i love the cast, i can watch even mediocre anime for quite a while. but no, his talents couldn't get me past the hideousness; besides, too much screaming even from a much-adored seiyuu grates.

the show is basically just fan service (and a lot of it, but you don't get any full nudity until the last episode. oops, is that a spoiler? so sorry). the plot is thin -- the paramour actually watched most of them, and apparently the episodes all sort of go like this: some nasty spirit shows up in human guise, only one person sees through the guise right away, a girl "loses" her clothes, ikkou's amazing power exorcises. in between ikkou gets abused. no character development worth mentioning; one of the girls is clearly interested in ikkou (and jealous of anyone else who might look at him), but abuses him along with the others for being a pervert -- except the actual pervert is our butchy dyke, because she's the one groping and stripping others.

the best thing is the ending song. (no, not just because that means an episode is over :).

[*] i should probably not call her a dyke because she's to an actual dyke what the much-desired HBB of personal ads is to an actual hot bi babe.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
since hibernation season has started and i can't seem to get myself to write anything interesting, yet i am more likely to do that occasionally if i write something at all, a report on my current anime viewing. under the cut )
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
well, enough with the health chat, let's talk about anime. no? ok, just me then. new ones bolded.

get backers 40 (26 with the paramour)
death note 17 (both)
saiunkoku monogatari 30
gankutsuou 3 (both)
kamichu! 2 (both)
prince of tennis 57
yamato nadeshiko shichi henge 14 (both)
bleach 9 (2)
kyou kara maou 7
fushigi yuugi 4 (both)

yamato nadeshiko shichi henge | (perfect girl evolution, the wallflower, sunako of many forms) isn't really new to me, but was on hiatus because i got busy watching lots of other things. mangaka: HAYAKAWA tomoko, genre: shoujo. the manga is licensed in english by del rey. i am so far only watching the anime in fansub; not sure whether i want to read the manga. both manga and anime are ongoing in japan.

four handsome and fashionable 15-year old boys are living cheaply in a stately mansion under the condition that they transform the owner's niece into a lady. how hard can it be? enter the niece, sunako -- she's frumpy, her curtain of badly kempt hair covers a face full of zits, loves the grossest of horror movies, she's anti-social and prefers to hang out with skeletons and anatomy models over people. her attitude stems from her first love rejecting her and called her ugly. the four pretty boys appear to her as beings of pure light, which burn her eyes and cause her to break out into sponteanous nosebleeds. so we basically have "straight eye for the weird gal" here, on crack. and surprisingly, it isn't half bad. i am not usually much into super deformation and chibi, but here those techniques used to fabulous effect (even if i suspect the mangaka of drawing sunako so much as a chibi because hey, that's much faster :).

contrary to hollywood techniques, we're not just taking ugly glasses off sunako, giving her a new haircut and wardrobe, and MAGIC, she's gorgeous and social and successful. nope. in fact, while there are glimpses of a possibility that the owner might get her wish now and then, so far sunako hasn't appreciably changed, certainly not in her weird hobbies. what's even better is that she has as much if not more of an effect on the boys as they have on her. lots of themes touched on here; self-acceptance, identity, the meaning of beauty (and its ugly sides), but the treatment is light.

slashable, if one wants to, because, well, pretty boys. me, i don't want to; i don't actually care about the boys a whole lot; i am liking sunako.

bleach | mangaka KUBO taito, genre: shounen.

KUROSAKI ichigo, a 15-year old boy, can see ghosts. one day he encounters KUCHIKI rukia, a shinigami (death god) who's following a "hollow" (evil spirit) in order to release its soul. rukia is wounded and transfers most of her power to ichigo in order to stop the hollow from killing his family. from then on, while initially unwilling, ichigo joins rukia in her job of cleansing souls and sending them onto the "soul society" (some form of heaven) or wherever else they are meant to go (there's some form of hell and limbo as well). the manga is up to 26 volumes in japan with no end in sight; it is licensed in english by viz; i am just watching the anime so far. don't really have an opinion yet, but it's definitely interesting.

kyou kara maou | novels: TAKABAYASHI Tomo, genre: shounen-ai

SHIBUYA yuuri is an average high school student who's more interested in baseball than studying. when he tries to intervene while seeing a classmate being bullied, he gets his head dunked in a toilet -- and gets flushed into another world, which he first assumes is a theme park. but the first people he encounters are pelting him with stones and are clearly afraid of him. then some other people rescue him, and tell him that he is the new "maou" -- the demon king. yuuri thinks this has got to be a joke. and it doesn't help that whenever he's near a water source with a drain, he gets sucked back to his own world, at the most inconvenient time. and then back again. and what magical powers he is expected to have as the maou seem not to be under his control.

this is basically a magical girl story, except the girl is replaced by a boy -- yay, no annoying shrill cutesy lead voice (SAKURAI takahiro, who also voiced cloud in FFVII, lan di in shenmue, and kagami in get backers). the girl, uh boy, has the usual harem; all boys naturally. the good thing is the story totally doesn't take itself seriously. while not explicitly shounen-ai, the humour most definitely is (yuuri's new teacher nosebleeds in the presence of yuuri, yuuri gets accidentally engaged to another boy, and nobody bats an eyelash). lots of bishounen and some fine voice talent (which is why i am watching it). it's very light fare, but i am enjoying the humour. inoue kazuhiko as günter von christ is a hoot; i've never heard him in such a comedic role before.

the anime is licensed in english by geneon. i hear there is a manga as well, but i am unlikely to read it.

fushigi yuugi | mangaka: WATASE yuu, genre: shoujo, magical girl.

super-annoying lead female character, and stupid shoujo romance tropes. dropping it.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
well, i wrote a longish, reviewish post, and LJ ate it -- that'll hopefully teach me to return to writing posts in an editor instead of a web form.

back to starting the post with what i originally had meant to do, log which episode i am on in the various series i am watching. i'm not sure whether i'll write the rest of it again.

get backers 35
death note 12
saiunkoku monogatari 28
gankutsuou 3
kamichu! 2
prince of tennis 57

battlestar galactica 3x11

i've decided to stop watching BSG until the end of season 3 -- watching each episode as it airs doesn't pull me enough into the story and i consequently feel distant and don't care a whole lot.

get backers rocks. adventure, mystery, fighting (but not too much), some fantastical abilities so we can have special effects for the fighting, humour, characters that grow more complex, angsty backstory -- what's not to like? i also adore that the canon throws just enough innuendo around so anyone who wants to ship somebody can do so; gen, slash, or even femslash, but the canon itself for the most part stays away from settling this in any way. me, i like akabane all on his own, black and amoral as he comes, and his seiyuu, tobita nobuo, is now on my favourites list; not for any inherent quality of his voice, but for the way he uses it. lucky me, he's also in gankutsuou as it turns out.

death note went along a completely different path from where i thought it would go -- or rather, it went where i thought it would eventually go, but immediately, and then went down other avenues, but i like it a lot. mangaka obata takeshi is on my "must watch" list. no slash. (not that it's not possible; i just saw a light/L doujinshi -- but i am refusing.)

saiunkoku monogatari continues to give me a heroine i can actually like, aside from its large cast of impossibly pretty men with long hair. it's also got loads of interesting period stuff (chinese tang dynasty), and lovely period music. it doesn't touch me emotionally, which is probably not surprising because it has an epic sweep to it, and i don't get into epic sagas much. but also, while dangerous and even some momentous things happen, the way the story is told is not edge-of-the-seat, nail-bitingly exciting. in fact, it seems overall very quiet and calm. i've got to think more about why that is. i am enjoying it even though i don't love it. huge slash potential, but i'm not doing anything with it.

gankutsuou is very different. it's somewhat based on dumas' count of monte cristo, but it's remarkable for its innovative use of texturing and rendering techniques. i am not sure whether i actually like it; i will have to watch more episodes. the "swimming" of the textures is disorienting, though i find it amusing that the creators have decided to turn something into a feature that's heretoforth been known as a bug.

kamichu! is the story of a small girl who becomes a kami (god). it's a thing of beauty; very expressive. i am missing major cultural referents though; need to read up on shinto.

look, no smut!
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
prince of tennis episode 54. new trailer.

aja, did you see what tezuka is reading here:


while daintily sipping tea. let's not even mention that collarbone and the look at all.

OMG, i am dying. i can't wait to see what episode that's in.

also, inui and kaidoh, oh yes. i know you said so, but i didn't see that coming. first kaidoh sans shirt, then they're all complimentary about each other in their minds, inui helps him perfect his boomerang snake (at sunset! in the water!), and finally, "do you want to team up for doubles with me?". yup, sold. aside from the slashy joyfest i really like what they've done with the character development for inui -- he's been slowly becoming more than just a geek with a preoccupation for data. kaidoh's really growing on me too; i didnt like him at all at the start, but we consistently get little bits of him that're beyond the initial gruffness and aggression.

oh, and i am documenting each time tezuka and fuji talk. *evil cackle*.

i am having too much fun. i laughed out loud several times this episode -- momo as inui was hilarious.
piranha: inui's disgusting red juice dripping out of a glass (penal tea)
episode 40.

damn you, aja. now i LIKE these people.

*cranks up the torrents for the next 138 episodes*.

ETA: i'm starting to see the possibilities for twisting the dialogue completely out of context :). mizuki x yuuta. "don't worry. i'll keep you company all night." uh hn.
piranha: reflection of ryoma in tezuka's glasses (got my eye on you)
episode 25/26 was impressive, ok. i am totally not swayed by "i'll bring the balls", but now there is something between tezuka and ryoma. am highly amused that the "pillar of support" bit actually has a couple of pillary towers in it. *cackle*. made a userpic from that, but like this one better.

episode 27 did nothing for me (my cats are cuter), except that suddenly kaidou was adorable.

episode 35 somehow magically opened the vortex to sucking me in inexorably.

i've pretty much lived for fuji opening his eyes. finally got plenty of that in the last two episodes.

"i've faced much stronger lefties than you." "i am aiming much higher." ha! yeah, don't we know it.

also, mizuki's seiyuu is ishida akira, i think. mmmh.

now that i've seen young-ryuuzaki with young-nanjirou, i like her better than before. she's the only worthwhile woman in this show, *sigh*. luckily we also got tachibana an! a girl who is not a worthless squealer/blusher/ignoramus, but who stands on her own two feet and is outspoken and knowledgable to boot! woohoo, two, count 'em, two decent female characters. there is so totally no gen fic i ever want to read about this show, unless that changes in a major way.

i can see why people ship tezuka / fuji.

this bloody show is growing on me like a fungus. but horio / sakuno / tomoka must still die.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
so so bad about updating this thing.

i continue to spend my copious free time on learning japanese, and watching anime, jdrama, and reading manga. i want to write interesting reviews, especially of the things i love, but somehow i am stalling out on them because i can't make them sing the way the works sing inside my heart. damn.

so i'm just gonna, for the record, write about one of the shows that isn't doing it for me at this point, despite coming highly recommended. i've already written some of this as a comment elsewhere, so it's easy to riff off a little further here.

prince of tennis - テニスの王子様 - tenisu no oujisama by 許斐剛 konomi takeshi.

this manga and anime are amazingly popular in japan; the manga is at > 330 chapters and still going, the anime at > 175 episodes. there are additional OAVs, there are live action movies. there are musicals! it's a sports anime, even though the tennis is, ya know, anime tennis and defies the laws of physics. this isn't like hikaru no go where one can actually go and play the games they show on screen. ergo, it is not normally a show i would even touch. but [livejournal.com profile] bookshop, my favourite pimp, is enamoured with it, and if aja says it's worthwhile, it usually is. :)

which is why, *wah*, i am sorry i don't actually like tenipuri at this point. i've not read the manga at all, but i've watched the first 15 episodes and a few strategically picked others, and it's really hard for me to sit through them.

but let me start with what's good about it: the character design is actually decent. the show has a huge cast -- players at seigaku, a leading tennis school, players at rival schools, and plenty of ancillary characters. and they do not all look or behave alike; they're clearly characterized even if they spend very little time on-screen. i think that's quite the feat; i do not need to use a character sheet to try to identify who is who at all.
the star of the show, echizen ryoma, 12, a tennis prodigy, is the sort of character i like a lot -- he is cocky when challenged, but he can actually back it up; he's otherwise quiet, untalkative but observant, he takes his tennis very seriously and is constantly trying to learn new things, and he stands up for weaker people when they're being given a hard time by some bully. he's voiced by minagawa junko (who also does ritsuka in loveless), one of the few female seiyuus whose voice i enjoy because it sounds young but not high-pitched. also, adorable, ne?
the team captain is tezuka kunimitsu (voiced by okiayu ryoutarou, one of the seiyuus i adore), the tennis school's top player -- who's the strong, silent, responsible type. hard to read, therefore he must be deep, right? *sigh*. also, he wears glasses. *swoon*; glasses and okiayu-sama; be still my heart.
i consider the top seigaku players in general mildly interesting -- they're all made immediately unique, and i find myself wanting to get to know them better.

but here's what's bad: there are so many annoying shounen characteristics in this show -- almost all women and girls are worthless props; cutesy, squealing, blushing, adoring the men without qualification. the comic relief is over-the-top grating, both in the shape of horio, the bragging know-it-all kid who actually doesn't know anything, and ryoma's father, a former ace tennis player who is now a monk whose "pervert" tendencies are played to the hilt ("pervert" in this case refers to him looking at magazines with swimsuit models. oh please.). also, there are a lot of super-duper special tennis moves all with their own special names (*yawn*), the animation is lackluster, the colours typically bright without much nuance, the backgrounds only so-so.

the way the episodes are put together makes it torturous for me to watch; the comedic elements actively pain me, and there's no emotional depth so far to make up for it.

i don't just watch anime for teh gay these days (though it might be hard to tell), and i would be fine if this show had none. yeah, it is majorly slashed, of course, being as it has goodlooking male characters, *snicker*, but it has no actual yaoi content -- the canon doesn't, so far, support any BL whatsoever, and i personally find it unslashable at this time -- i don't mind pushing the envelope a little, but here the distance is too large for my slashy heart to go all pitter-patter, in part because ryoma is 12, but it's mainly about the characters' interaction, which is just ... not close enough for me to start spinning romantic subthreads. this is not a problem with the show; i am just noting it.

i will continue to watch it because aja says it might grow on me, but i'll do it in small drabs, so as to not overdose from the comedic gratiness. and i won't start the manga at all unless the show really does grow on me.

gratiness. that is not a word, is it.


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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