Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Anime Your Way: Over 400 Twitter followers strong!

Just like I do on GoNintendo, I wanted to stop and take a minute to thank you guys for your support thus far. Tonight our Twitter account managed to break into the 400 follower tier. That's way more than I ever thought would end up joining in on the anime love, but I'm extremely happy to see it happen. A small victory in the eyes of many, but a huge success to me!

I also want to thank all of you that email in, hang out on the site and comment in general. Seriously, this blog is going much better than I ever imagined. I'm elated to see so many anime fans coming out to support the cause. AnimeYourWay isn't about bringing in more traffic or getting my name out there. It's all about bringing anime fans together and showing people why anime is worth a shot.

Where do we go from here? Well, I still have an actual domain parked and waiting, but that won't come until much later. For now, I think the road ahead involves more articles, of course! There are some other interviews I have lined up, one with what I consider to be a very, very popular internet celebrity. Hopefully some people will take what he says to heart! I also want to get more reviews up on the site, and figure out a way to get some video content going. What kind of video content will I be doing? I haven't quite figured that out yet!

Thanks so much for coming along for the ride so far. Things are just getting good, so hang on tight!

Blu-ray/DVD dual release sets...why?

I'm starting to get a little annoyed with some recent anime releases. There seems to be a trend that I believe is rather disturbing, although others may see it as a silly complaint. It all has to do with the release of Blu-rays and DVDs. I have nothing against either format, and I understand the need to release in both, but why include both in one set?

Out of the last 4 anime features that I bought, 3 of them came in box sets that include both DVD and Blu-ray releases of the same show. I know that the Blu-ray format has some steps up on DVD, and I prefer to watch in Blu-ray if possible. Of course, I'll watch anything in any way possible, but when a higher quality is available I'll indeed take it.

That means for me, the DVD copy of the same show never gets used. It just sits in the box and does nothing but take up space. For the life of me, I can't figure out a definitive reason as to why so many anime releases lately are cramming both formats into one box. I don't need both...just one viewing format is fine for me!

Perhaps it's more cost effective to stick both formats in one box? I could see the cost going up if the publisher had to fund both DVD and Blu-ray formats in separate boxes, so perhaps they get a deal for both formats when bundled into one box. From that perspective I can at least understand the decision, but it still doesn't mean I enjoy having double the discs.

Yes, I know...these are 'first world problems' to complain about. With that said, I'm just curious as to why the anime industry is heading in this direction! Is this something that you guys wonder about as well, or do you not care at all!? I guess there is one good thing about having both formats. I can let a friend borrow a series and watch it at the same time!

Another Death Note viewing party in the works

Is there such a thing as too much Death Note? If there is, I haven't hit that point yet. I've made my love of the series very clear on this blog, and I'm sure Death Note will be a topic I continue to talk about far into the future. Any chance I get, I'm always out to spread the word on the series. That's exactly what's happening later this week.

Over the Summer, I managed to get a very large portion of my family into Death Note. It all started with a bunch of family members that knew nothing of anime, and were quite skeptic of what they heard. All it took was some Death Note action to have them change their minds. By the end of the series, every single one of them admitted how wrong they were about anime, and showed their definitely devotion to the series.

There were a few family members that wouldn't give the anime a shot, but that's where the manga came in. I knew that if they just read the series they'd fall in love. Lucky for me, the two standoffish people decided to read the manga, and they both become hooked. Now they're dying to see the anime series as well. Talk about a complete 180!

SO that's the family side of things, but what about friends? That's what the party tomorrow night is all about! It's been a very long time in the making, but it seems that schedules have lined up to give us a chance to get together and watch some Death Note. I don't know how far into the series we'll go on our first night, but I'm dying to see what my friends think of however far we get. Indeed, some of my friends can be harsh critics, but I think Death Note is up to the task.

The Anime Staple: Your Turn!

All day yesterday, I committed to a new feature on the site called 'The Anime Staple'. I focused in on content that appears in most, if not all anime. These are the elements of anime that make it what it is. The type of quirks and features that made us fall in love with anime in the first place.

As I said, that was the focus of the site all of yesterday. I covered a handful of topics that I felt were staples of the anime industry, and hopefully you guys enjoyed reading those! With that said, I don't want to keep rambling on and drive the topic into the ground. I think one day of the same feature is enough from me...but now it's your turn!

Excluding the topics I picked for my Anime Staple features, I'd love to hear what you guys have to say. I know there are many other areas of anime that one could consider a staple of the medium, and I'd love to hear what you guys pick out. Please, leave a comment, put together a tweet or direct us to a blog post where you label another anime staple.

Like I said, as long as I haven't mentioned it, it's fair game. There's no right or wrong answer here!

The Anime Staple: Is that a guy or a girl?

This seems to be an issue that crops up in any anime related medium. I'm not saying that every single anime presents this problem, but it's certainly prevalent enough to consider it an anime staple. I'm guessing most of you have watched a few anime features where you had trouble deciding if a character is a guy or a girl. It's happened to the best of us!

I should do some research on this. How is it that this happens all the time in anime? It's almost like the anime industry is playing a joke on us. They like to draw at least one character that could pass for a guy or girl, they give them a voice that's tough to decipher and label them with a gender neutral name. With this happening time and time again, I can't help but think that it's done on purpose!

I don't know about you, but this kind of annoys me! I like to know the sex of a character before a series gets going. Depending on what the sex is, I'll feel differently about the character. If a guy gets punched in the face and punches back, I don't bat an eyelash. If a woman got punched in the face and fought back, I'd want the woman-beater to get what's coming to him! This is just one example of where I believe knowing the sex of a character is important.

No matter what, this seems to be a staple of the anime industry that is going to continue on forever. We'll always have to play the guessing game with a handful of characters, until that one clue comes in that tips us off one way or another. Until then, we can all feel uneasy for being attracted to a character that ends up being the opposite of what we like!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Anime Staple: Catchy Intro

What's an anime without a catchy intro?! Let's take a minute to think about the intros to shows in America compared to the intros for anime. I think there's no comparison to be made. Hands-down, anime intros are much, much better! They're extremely upbeat, they have very memorable songs and they really pump you up for the show you're about to watch!

If an anime doesn't have a great intro song, you know that something is up. I can't trust an anime that doesn't kick things off with a great song. Some of those intros might wow me right off the bat, and others might grow on me as time continues, but I can't think of a single anime intro I've come across that I absolutely hated.

It might sound silly, but those anime intros mean a lot to to the success of an anime. That catchy tune sticks in the minds of fans, and it keeps the series fresh. I know I can't be the only one that gets a rush of excitement when I hear the intro song for an anime I'm currently watching. It puts a smile on my face and makes me really appreciate what I'm watching!

Just how important do you think anime intros are? I definitely believe them to be an absolutely necessary staple when it comes to the anime experience. It's a bit of pride that the creators get to show in their series, with a bit more time and money put into really selling the quality of the show.

The Anime Staple: Eye Candy

Well that's not fair, isn't anime in general eye candy? Well, I guess in a most basic sense it is, but I'm not talking about the actual art of anime. I'm referring to content within anime that is out to make you ooh and ahh. The kind of stuff that anime revels in while most other entertainment mediums don't pay much attention.

When I say anime eye candy, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? I'm guessing that the most basic example is that of the fan-service aspect. Without a doubt, fan-service is a blatant form of eye candy, and it's usually out to entice those that find the female form attractive. We've talked about fan-service before and you know where I stand, but it's certainly not the only type of eye candy in anime.

What about fight scenes in general? You know that anime features love their fight scenes. They could come in the form of big explosions, well-choreographed hand-to-hand fight scenes, or phallic gun fights. That sort of high-intensity action is definitely a hallmark of what anime offers, and I can't get enough of it.

What other types of anime eye candy do you think exists? There certainly need to be eye candy moments to really boost your attention in a series, and I've only named a small portion of what's out there. Feel free to fill me in on what you've caught!

The Anime Staple: Time for School!

I thought I'd put together a set of features called 'The Anime Staple' in order to look at the ideas and features that anime creators love to inject into their shows.  While anime varies wildly from program to program, you can usually find a few common bonds in the majority of content out there.  For the first article, I'm going to take a look at the focus on schooling in anime.

There are a lot of things that anime fans get teased about, but this is one topic that anime fans themselves tease the industry about! If you had to take a guess at the most prevalent aspect of most anime out there, what would you say it is? Personally, I'd have to pick the focus on school.

It's no secret that a lot of anime features focus in on school life of the main characters. That can be any type of schooling, but usually we're thrown into the high school lives of the main characters. It truly is amazing to look at just how many anime series' and films feature school as the major location for the stories that they tell.

While some fans rag on how much school is a focus in anime, why shouldn't it be? School is the perfect location for characters to come together and bond. I mean, where did you meet most of your friends? Where did you learn about the friends that you love? We definitely build important relationships within the confines of a school, and some would say that those relationship building skills are just as important as the classes that are taught.

While school anime may be a bit played out as an overall theme, I still think interesting situations can occur within the setting. School acts as a common theme that everyone can understand, which always gives the anime creators a nice base to build off of. You have to have your audience grounded in something they understand and can relate to before you take them on an amazing, out-of-this-world journey.

It's this type of mentality that makes it hard for anime lovers, and nerds of all kinds

This world can be a very shallow place.  I think the real sad part is, some people aren't ashamed to show just how shallow they are.  I guess if you are shallow, you don't know enough to be ashamed of feeling/living that way.  Unfortunately, I'm about to share a perfect example of a rather shallow person with you.  This one applies to just about any 'nerd' out there.

Alyssa Bereznak is a blogger over at Gizmodo, and she recently posted up an article that involves a recent date she went on.  Ms. Bereznak met this person through an OkCupid advert, and decided that the guy was worth meeting up with in person.  Little did she know that her date would be so horrendous that she couldn't stand to go out with the guy for a second outing.  Oh wait, the date wasn't bad at all...

Turns out Ms. Bereznak couldn't stand to date this guy anymore because he was...a world-ranked Magic: The Gathering player.  According to the tale of her date with this guy, we don't hear a single thing about the date that was negative, other than the fact that he's a world champion at Magic.  This was a fact that she just couldn't shake, and it lead to her doing away with the guy.  I mean, could she be expected to date such a nerd?!

This is exactly what I was talking about a couple weeks back on this very blog.  Some people view anime fans as nerds...and that's such a disgusting fact to them that they can't even stand to be around the people.  It may have been a Magic player in this instance, but substitute any so-called 'nerd' activity in there, and you get the same outcome.  You can bet with 100% accuracy that the same thing has happened, and will happen again to anime fans.

The worst part of this article is that  Ms. Bereznak says it's just human nature to judge people on shallow stuff.  I don't know about you, but that statement absolutely disgusts me.  I guess that might have something to do with having a personal goal of never, ever judging anyone/anything in a shallow way.  I get to know all about that person/thing before I make a decision on if I want it in my life.  To me, it sounds crazy that someone would see one little 'flaw' in their eyes, and then do away with that person altogether.  Seriously, how can someone make such a snap judgment like that!?

Anime fans, we have to stand together to do away with this kind of silly thought process.  It's not enough to just ignore people like that.  We have to spread the word and show people why we love anime.  There are people that are more than willing to shoot us down at the sheer mention of anime, and that's not right.  Those people don't have to like anime or like that we like it, but damnit, we have every right to be proud of being anime fans, and every right to not have our entire being judged on that.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Those hard-to-find releases

There's one big problem with following anime releases.  If you don't purchase something you want within a couple months of release, you could be out of luck for years to come.  You never know what DVD and Blu-ray releases are going to be stocked well or only see one shipment.  It's very hard to get that information from the publishing houses, which makes every release a gamble.

Sometimes we just don't have the cash to pick up the things we want when we want them!  You can only hold out hope for online and retail stock for so long.  You could preorder things in a few cases, but eventually you're going to have to plop that cash down and pick the release up.  If you don't do that in a certain amount of time, off the copy goes to someone else.

You can forget finding copies of limited releases a couple years after they launch.  What if you only find out about a series a few years after it was initially released?  That makes the copies actually out for sale very hard to find, and when you usually stumble upon them they're way too pricey.  I wanted a copy of Grave of the Fireflies, but I'm not willing to pay over $100 for a used copy!

What anime DVDs and Blu-ray releases have you had trouble finding?  Anything in particular that you're still hunting for?  Sometimes you start to think that your only option is to be happy with watching an online release.  While I don't personally bootleg content, I know that some people do out of frustration.  That just goes to show how hard to find certain releases can be!

Representing anime wherever I go

In an article earlier today, I made quick mention of my Rideback keychain that I keep on my necklace.  It was at that point that I realize that anime is represented pretty well on my necklace!  It's something I wear every single day, which kind of makes it my ambassador for the anime industry!  There have definitely been a few people that asked about the necklace and what's on it, which has lead to some interesting anime conversations.

That's my necklace, in all of it's glory.  I've been wearing this sucker since 8th grade, and new stuff gets added every year.  It's become a bit heavy by now, but I feel weird when I'm not wearing it!  I just don't feel like myself, and part of who I am is definitely shown in this necklace.

There's the RideBack keychain, in all it's glory.  Without a doubt, this is the most recent addition to the neckalce.

That's my Death Note pendant which says Death Note on the back.  This one is definitely the conversation starter of the bunch!

And that's Lupin the Third, as if he needed any explanation!  This one has been on here since the first days of college, which was a very long time ago.  I think the condition of the pendant goes to show just how long I've been hanging with Lupin!

Do you have a bit of anime fandom that goes everywhere with you?  Perhaps something you wear?  Maybe something you hang in your car off the mirror?  We'd love to hear about it!

Come for the anime, stay for the tchotchkes!

Tchotchke (pronounced /'tʃɒtʃkɨ/ choch-kee) are small toys, gewgaws, knickknacks, baubles, lagniappes, trinkets, or kitsch. The term has a connotation of worthlessness or disposability, as well as tackiness,[1][2] and has long been used by Jewish-Americans and in the regional speech of New York City. - Wikipedia

I am an absolute sucker for tchotchkes, no matter where they come from. In the video game industry, a lot of media look forward to picking up all kinds of swag from E3 and other trade shows. It's one of the big perks of those events, but gaming isn't the only industry that shells out tchotchkes by the thousands!

What's better than heading out to pick up the latest anime DVD/Blu-ray release, and finding a special little something extra tucked away in the box?! Half the time I don't even know these sets come with any goodies inside, since I'm just interested in the video content itself. With that said, I can't help but fall in love with this meaningless junk!

Most of the time you'll find some sort of charm or keychain tucked away inside these box sets. Just recently, I was surprised to find a Rideback keychain in the box set release. Lucky for me, I have a necklace that I've been wearing for about 15 years now, and I throw all kinds of random stuff on there. The Rideback keychain found itself a nice home rather quick!

What was your favorite bit of anime tchotchke that you've picked up over the years? Perhaps you grabbed something from one of the many anime expos out there? Feel free to let us know where it came from, how you display it and why you love it so much!

Too much old, not enough new?

Last week, I linked into an article that discussed the deplorable conditions that some anime production houses were letting their employees work in.  We're talking about ridiculously long hours, unkempt work areas and supervisors that just don't care.  While that information was shocking in and of itself, the article also touched upon another issue in the anime industry.  While the issue above is a serious one that needs to be addressed, this other issue is one that threatens the entire industry.

To many in the Japanese anime industry, it seems like most production houses are stagnating when it comes to content. While there is no shortage of new anime shows to check out, the subject matter and content within isn't putting forth anything new for the anime audiences out there. We're getting the same content and storylines, just repackaged with different faces and voices.

Indeed, I've heard a lot of anime fans express disinterest in most of what the new anime season has consisted of. I've yet to check out a single show from the most recent lineup in Japan, but I've read plenty of reviews and comments to know that the majority of fans are quite let down by the bulk of the content out there. Of course, creating that new and exciting content is easier said than done.

Do you think that the anime industry is resting on its laurels? Are houses right now just building off the successes of the past by just re-imagining that content? To take an old idea and revamp it/run with it is one thing, but to largely follow the same formulas, character designs and story arcs with slight changes isn't something that's going to cut it.

The Question 8/29: What anime did you check out this weekend?

It was just a tad tough for me to check out anime this weekend!  I managed to squeeze in our weekly episode of Durarara!!, but then that pesky Hurricane Irene got in the way!  While our place escaped from any damage, we were without power for half the weekend.  That said, it was kind of hard to watch anime...or do anything with electricity!

No complaints here, though.  There are other people that felt the impact of Irene in much more serious ways than I.  If I missed out on anime fun because of Irene and that was the worst of my issues, than I have nothing to complain about!

What anime did you guys manage to check out over the weekend?  Hopefully you were safe, warm and happy at the same time!

That anime is so overrated...

You guys know that I love anime.  Hopefully this blog shows my feelings towards the art!  Just like my video game blog, I think about anime every single day.  The movement of the anime industry is extremely important to me.  I've seen the absolutely amazing content that the industry has put forth, and continues to push out to this day.  The treasure trove of amazing anime content out there deserves to be recognized by the masses.  Well, some of it anyway!

Not every anime out there can be a gem.  We wouldn't love the good if there weren't the bad out there.  Usually it's very easy to spot the content that didn't exactly get the same love and care that other features did.  There are certain earmarks to look for in bad anime content, and they usually smack you in the face within the first couple episodes of the franchise.  Thankfully there's much more good content than bad.

There's also the anime content that people put high above the other workings of the industry.  The anime features that man fans gush on and on about, seeing it as the best that the industry can crank out.  Since I'm a very easy-going guy, I usually agree with the anime crowd when they gush about a feature being well worth your time.  With that said, I know that there are certain anime out there that are applauded by many, but others wonder why.

What anime do you think is quite overrated by fans and critics alike?  I'm sure there's a series or a film that you watched, expecting an amazing experience, but coming away just moderately happy.  Leave us a comment and let us know about that feature that just didn't tickle you like you thought it would.  No worries, you won't be judged here!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Durarara!! Ep. 10 - impressions

Durarara!! seems like a series that just keeps getting better and better. The more we get into the series, the more reasons I have to get excited for the future. I really have enjoyed the series thus far, but last night's episode got me super excited for what's coming next Things have been on a slow boil for awhile, but the rest of the series is sure to be pretty explosive from here on out!

Durarara!! has done a great job with building up characters and suspense as things move along. You know a ton of characters and some of the things about them, but you don't really know their true motives. You don't know what makes them tick and what they're really out to do. Episode 10 finally gives us a look at how all of these people are going to come together for one reason or another.

As you know, one character in the show has been looking for something very precious her, and now she's found out who has it. The main character of the show is now the key connection to these two characters, and we can see how they're going to come together. I don't know what the resolution will be, and I'm trying not to spoil anything for those that aren't watching yet, but the possible resolution to this situation can't be a pretty one!

In Episode 10 we also got to learn a bit more about one of the gangs, The Dollars. Durarara!! has a few gangs that run about town, and it's very clear that they don't like each other. The thing is, each group is just as mysterious as the other, but at least Episode 10 showed us a little bit of the true colors with Dollars members Again, this is only helping to build up the intensity for future episodes.

The episode ends with a tease of the main character taking a big action. We know that he's going to make a move on the situation, but we don't know which way he's going to lean. That's because the episode purposefully cuts before we hear what the main character's decision is. If that's not a good sell to watch the follow-up episode, I don't know what is!

Episode 10 of Durarara!! has gotten me more excited about the series than I've been so far. I'm really seeing how the story arch was planned now, and we're clearly at some sort of tipping point. No matter where the series goes from here, big things are going to happen. I'll definitely make sure I'll be around to watch!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Durarara!! on Adult Swim - Episode 10 live chat (stars 12:30 A.M. EDT)

Power is on, internet is up and I'm ready for some Durarara!!.  I'll be joining the chat in just a few minutes.  I hope to see you there!

Is this artist being serious, or is he just trolling everyone?

Time to lighten things up, shall we?!  This little tidbit was sent over by Josh Thomas of TheBitBlock.  He thought this was a game that I'd like to share with everyone, and boy was he right!

I am not a very good artist at all.  I can barely play Pictionary, that's how bad I am.  The man in the videos below is Bill Connolly, and he's a better artist than I am.  With that said, I think his works are...well...fairly lackluster.  That might putting it a bit too lightly.  Take a look at his anime drawings below and tell me what you think!

Well, what do you guys think?  Does Bill Connolly think his work matches up nicely with the originals, or is this one of the best internet trolls out there?!  Make sure to hit up that YouTube account for more work of his.

Reminder: Durarara!! Episode 10 live-chat tonight at 12:30 AM EDT!

We have made it to the double digits, my friends!  I can't believe 10 episodes have gone by already.  This is a great way for me to roughly track how long I've been doing this anime blog.  I'm amazed things have already come this far!

We'll be hosting another live-chat tonight as usual.  This time I'll actually be able to attend, but that's weather permitting.  Hurrican Irene is about to touch down in NJ (hopefully a tropical storm by tonight), and I'm sure there are going to be some power outages.  As long as my power is on and my internet is up, I'll be here!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The deplorable conditions of anime production houses

Sorry to have it be such a depressing day here on the anime blog.  I know that Grave of the Fireflies isn't the happiest anime to talk about, but I feel it an important one to discuss.  While there's more to come on that, we're going to take a side-step now with another...also sad article.  I stumbled upon this story earlier today, and I absolutely had to share it with you.

It sounds like the situation with many anime production houses is pretty sad indeed.  Specifically we're looking at the working conditions of these places.  To say that the working conditions are deplorable would be a huge understatement.  This information comes straight from an American animator that has worked on multiple anime projects.

One higher-up who pushed himself too hard ended up in the hospital for three months, after which his doctor banned him from ever working in animation again. Studios were poorly ventilated, and everyone smoked. In summer years of accumulated tobacco resin would begin to melt, dripping off the desks.

You absolutely have to read this article to get more insight on what it's like being part of the anime workforce.  The article makes one thing very clear.  This situation absolutely has to change, and that change has to happen as quickly as possible.

Grave of the Fireflies and the Eastern mentality

Grave of the Fireflies is considered by many Western film critics to be among the best films ever made.  It has received numerous nods from big-name movie critics, such as Roger Ebert.  The praise for the film here in the West is quite abundant indeed, but it's a different situation over in Japan.

For those that don't know, Grave of the Fireflies takes place during the end of World War II.  The content may be years old by now, but the mental wounds of Japan are still fresh.  When the film debuted in Japan, it was actually a flop.  No one wanted to see the film due to its topic, and the fact that it was very depressing.  The only reason the film received notoriety was due to a pairing with My Neighbor Totoro, which went on to be quite a success.

It seems that the negative Eastern stigma against the film still exists to this day.  One of my Facebook friends left the following message on my wall concerning Grave of the Fireflies.

My wife and I went to Japan for our honeymoon a few years ago. We went to the Ghibli Museum with a tour guide. She asked us on the way over what some of our favorite Ghibli movies were and I told her Grave of the Fireflies. She kind of made a face of disgust and said that one isn't so cherished over there because of the content. I felt like I gave her the wrong answer!

World War II will never be forgotten, nor will the tragedies that were involved.  While I think it's unfortunate that the film gets a cold shoulder in the East, I can understand why.  Perhaps one day both East and West can come together over this film.  It showcases a very important part of history, and also manages to humanize a conflict that many never put a face to.

Grave of the Fireflies is THE film to change anime perceptions

I think I'm going to be talking about Grave of the Fireflies all day today.  It truly was that amazing.  It's a film I'm going to continue thinking about for days, months and years without a doubt.  It's hard to convey the sense of emotion that the film gives off without acting seeing it yourself.  Hopefully I've convinced you to check it out, but I'm also thinking it's an amazing way to introduce people to anime.

As we've said in the past, many people that don't understand or like anime believe it to be nothing but stereotypes.  They think anime and all that comes to mind are big boobs, naked girls, over-the-top violence and gore, and absolutely insane moments.  There are plenty of anime features out there like that, but real fans know that there's even more content that doesn't go down that path.  I'm not saying that content is right or wrong.  It is what it is, and you are free to enjoy whatever you want.

My point is, Grave of the Fireflies can show people the power that anime has, and also convince them that anime isn't just the stereotypes they believe in.  I cannot stress enough how powerful the film is.  I honestly cannot picture a soul alive that would watch this movie and still say they dislike anime.  Grave of the Fireflies is a true eye-opener.  The only issue is that it's truly sad, and I know some people aren't into watching content like that.

If you have a friend or family member that subscribes to anime stereotypes, Grave of the Fireflies is definitely the film to do away with those thoughts.  It's such a strong, series movie, it will definitely rid those shallow ideas from those that haven't given anime a shot.  Once they see the film and realize what they've been missing out on, you can introduce them to the world of anime that's out there.  It sometimes takes very moving experiences to change minds, and I don't doubt that Grave of the Fireflies can do that.

Grave of the Fireflies - review

Grave of the Fireflies is the most moving film I've ever seen.  Throughout my 29 years on this earth, I've come across a handful of films that really touched me.  They were the cream of the crop, the movies that managed to stir something up in my soul and forever change thew way I feel about certain topics.  After watching Grave of the Fireflies, I've been changed in a big way.  I've never gotten this deep of a feeling from a film.  It's absolutely, without a doubt, one of the best films ever created.

Grave of the Fireflies transcends the anime genre, and the film genre for that matter.  It doesn't matter whether you call it a film or an anime.  Labeling it with just that one term would be a huge insult.  Grave of the Fireflies manages to reach out and grab the viewer, and it takes you on a journey you are not going to want to be a part of.  The film makes you uncomfortable and sad, moreso than any other movie I've seen.  It's for those reasons that you'll never, ever forget the message that Grave of the Fireflies sends.

What is that message?  That's up to each viewer to decide.  With that said, I don't see how anyone in this world could watch this anime and not come away with some sort of strong feelings.  You'll most likely think about war or humanity in some very different ways.  Grave of the Fireflies forces us to see the dark corners of the world...the kind of stuff that people want to forget about.  You are going to see people do terrible're going to see terrible things happen to good people.  This film shows you just how sick the world can be, but the thing that really makes it stand out is that everything you see is believable.

There's no giant monster to fight here.  There's no villain that the heroes have to take down.  This is a tale of the world we live in right now.  You'll see how everyday people can be pushed to their limits, which ends up changing their way of life.  Honest, hard-working folks can be scared into becoming cold, bitter shells of their former selves.  You'll see how people will turn their backs on one another when it comes down to protecting themselves and their families.  The true monster in this film is realizing that the wonderful world we live in could be shattered in just a few minutes, leaving you with no where to go and without the basic necessities you need to live.

I've never cried so hard at a film before in my life.  There have been plenty of movies that made me tear up, but Grave of the Fireflies really pulled out the emotion within me from deep down.  It's a slow build as the movie rolls on, and you're just hit so hard one right after the other with bad situations that it's near impossible not to let loose with some of that emotion.  I could easily imagine some viewers crying throughout the entire movie.  It's definitely a tough film to watch, which goes to show just how amazing it is.  Never have I seen a film convey emotions like this, and in some ways torture the viewer.  It's an amazing triumph for cinema, and it comes from an animation, no less.

Grave of the Fireflies is going to be a very tough film for many of you to watch.  Please know what you're getting into before you view.  It's not going to be a happy film to watch.  With that said, I believe it to be a film that everyone should see, especially those that appreciate cinema, anime and human interest stories.  I can't tell you how deeply I appreciate Grave of the Fireflies.  Everything it does exemplifies the best that cinema has to offer.  To see an anime provide this kind of experience is quite a sight to behold.  I know it's a rather cliche line, but I truly believe that Grave of the Fireflies is a movie that absolutely must be seen.  You cannot go through life without experiencing this.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Are you an anime snob?

As I mentioned awhile back, I'm surprised to see how many anime fans are willing to attack their own kind.  Why would an anime lover bash another anime lover?!  That I do not understand.  We're all fighting for the same type of expression, and to put someone down for enjoying that content defeats the purpose.  If we can't come together among our own fans, we can't expect newcomers to embrace anime either.

I think the biggest issue with this comes from the anime snob.  It's almost like the hipster of the anime world.  They have certain rules and guidelines to follow when it comes to anime.  Rather than just letting themselves enjoy all that anime has to offer, they follow these made-up regulations that only apply to themselves.  As time passes, they add more and more rules that limit their content, and help to make them feel a bit more self important.

I only watch anime that was created by such and such.  I only watch anime that was made before a certain year.  I refuse to even look at anime that offers a dub without a sub.  I will not watch any of the popular anime that airs in Japan right now.  I'll only watch underground shows that are layered with subtext that the average anime viewer won't understand.  Yes, these are actually comments that I've read since running this blog, all via Twitter.  They were paraphrased of course, but I've been keeping a running tally of these comments.  I still can't get over how someone would act like this.

I don't think any of you guys are anime snobs.  You're here for the fun of anime and to try and spread the good word.  That most likely means that you've crossed paths with an anime snob in your time.  What kind of snobby things have you heard anime watchers talking about?  I'm guessing most of it has to do with people being anime fans, but also having too high standards for something like Naruto or Bleach.  That's just a silly, silly comment to make.

Your level of anime fandom

We all watch and enjoy anime here, correct?  If not and you're on this blog, that means you're either just getting started with anime, or you've stumbled here by accident!  Welcome to you newcomers, but please excuse me while I focus in on those of us that have been familiarized with all that anime has to offer.  It's how we've become such big fans over the years!  Or huge fans...or gigantic fans...or super mega fans...

Just like a relationship with a real person, there are many levels to liking anime.  On a most basic level, you can enjoy anime from time to time, and just happen upon it whenever something comes across your path.  On the completely other end of the spectrum are the die-hard anime fans.  Their houses are shrines to everything anime, they own every single piece of anime merchandise you can think of, and they only interact with real-life people by using anime dialog/mannerisms!

I'm guessing that most of us fall somewhere inbetween those two, and that leaves a rather wide open space for us to explore.  Anime fandom brings in all levels of fans, some more dedicated than others.  If I had to mark myself, I'd say that I'm a pretty hardcore anime much as my free time allows me to be, anyway! I watch anime on TV through shows and DVD/Blu-ray, I keep up with news via the internet and magazines, and I'm always on the lookout for new content.

Just how deep are you into anime?  Tell us something about your anime interest that you feel exemplifies just how much you enjoy anime.  There's no shame in telling us just how into anime you are.  No worries about anyone judging you here.  We're all just curious to see how big our anime fans are!

Why don't I like mecha anime?!

The other day I talked a bit about giving mecha anime a try.  I still intend to do that, and I'm thinking about just where I'm going to start.  That's something I'll figure out a bit later.  Right now, I'm desperately trying to come up with a reason for why I don't like mecha anime.  I shouldn't even say that!  I should say that I'm looking into finding out why mecha anime doesn't interest me.

I can't say that I don't like mecha anime, because I hardly ever watch anime!  I'll stumble across one or two of them by accident, like The Big O or Gurren Lagaan, but I never actually sit down with the intentions of watching a mecha anime.  There's something about the idea that doesn't sit well with me.  Just thinking about it automatically takes me out of the experience...and this is an experience I haven't even had yet!

There's no point in my life where I had a negative experience with mecha anime.  I didn't see anything when I was a kid that put a sour taste in my mouth.  I didn't hear complaints from friends as I grew up.  It's just this weird thing that I simply can't explain.  In a sense that's a good thing, because it gives me a great reason to actually watch mecha anime and give it a legitimate shot.  That feeling of dislike will come up when I see the first mecha battle taking place, but so long as I think about how I have no reason to feel that way, I think things will get better.

Are and of you guys mecha anime converts?  I'm hoping to be on that side of the fence someday soon.  For now, I'll just have to spoon feed myself mecha anime and try to further figure out this weird misfire in my brain.  If any of you have gone from mecha hater to lover, please let me know how the transition went for you.  I'd also love to hear why you disliked mecha anime to begin with!

It's an anime kind of day/time

I have to be in the right kind of mood to enjoy something.  As much as I love video games, I don't want to play them 24/7.  I need to have a break every now and again.  That works out well with my schedule anyway, and I end up not getting to play games as much as I want!  The same situation exists for anime.  I don't get to watch anime when I want to, but I've come learn that I enjoy anime during certain days/times better.

Right now in NJ, the weather is quite crappy.  It's a very rainy day, and quite dark outside as well.  This is the perfect kind of day to watch anime.  You can snuggle up on the couch with a blanket and your remote, plop in an anime that you want to see and just waste the day away with some anime fun!  The type of day and feeling is just very conducive to kicking back with anime.

On a more regular day, I find myself always looking to watch anime at night.  I'll have a few opportunities during the week to watch anime during the day, but it just doesn't feel right to me.  Something about the nighttime makes anime viewing more fun.  I think it has to do with myself having less distractions.  Late, late at night, I know that I don't have to do anymore work.  I can actually watch an anime and focus on it without distractions.  Since that's my routine, I now associate anime with a nighttime activity.

When do you find yourself watching anime?  Are you an anytime/anyplace type of viewer, or has your schedule dictated certain times?  Do you find yourself sticking to that schedule even when you don't have to?  I know I'm a creature of habit, and I'm guessing that a lot of you guys are as well!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shocking twists and turns

I think I'm starting to see more and more reasons why I like anime.  There are a bunch of surface reasons as to why I enjoy anime, but there are many more deeper reasons.  As I run this blog, those deeply hidden reasons are coming to the surface.  Each day I think about anime a little bit more, and with each of those days I come to realize the elements of anime that really speak to me.

I believe that moreso than any other type of TV programs, anime series' are willing to take chances.  Shows here in the states are very, very worried about what the audience wants.  To a degree that's a good thing, but when you follow fans 100% of the time, you take the story in directions that simply aren't what's best for the show.  Anime doesn't seem to do that, but it also respects the viewers.

Most anime series I see aren't filled with ridiculous twists and turns just to shock viewers.  What I do see are shocking revelations that actually make sense for the story you're seeing.  No person in an anime is safe, no matter if they're a lead character or a supporting role.  Wherever the story needs to go is going to happen, and anyone is expendable along the way.

What anime series' have you seen with shocking twists?  How many of them did you see coming?  Do you also agree that anime seems to take more chances and bold directions with their stories, or am I just not watching the right American shows?

To go on forever, or end at the top of your game

Anime series' are pretty damn interesting.  That's not a comment in reference to the content within, but instead, how long shows run.  Some anime series' only go on for a couple of seasons, while others seem to have no end in sight.  It surprises me that there's no real middle ground with anime when it comes to length.  You either run the show into the ground or end when fans are just dying for more.

Take a look at the Bleach series, for example.  That's one long-running anime series, and who knows when it's going to end?  It seems to just keep pushing forward with no end in sight.  Is that a good or a bad thing?  That's not for me to decide, simply because I don't watch the show.  I could offer up an opinion if I did, but that wouldn't be the end-all, be-all of the series' future.

Now look at Cowboy Bebop.  That's another highly-regarded anime series, but it ended after just a short amount of episodes.  The series we got was action packed and top-notch, but we all would have loved a bit more along the way.  There's something to be said for having a short-but-long-lasting legacy.  Cowboy Bebop said what it needed to say, and in just a handful of episodes.

Which would you rather have with your anime?  Would you like to see short series' continue on until all popularity drops off?  Do you wish long-running shows would cut it short?  It all depends on the quality...but would you be willing to take that risk?  Dare you push for season after season, knowing the quality could disappear at any moment?

Eden of the East: Paradise Lost - review

So ends another anime series that I was really enjoying.  At least, I think it ends here!  As far as I can tell, and from what I learned last night while reading around the internet, Eden of the East: Paradise Lost is the final movie in the series.  It came out back in March 2010 over in Japan, but just now received it's localization for North American audiences.  Thankfully the release dates between the first and second movies in the states wasn't all that long, and after watching the film last night, I can say that the time inbetween the two releases was definitely worth the wait.

There's one thing that Eden of the East: Paradise Lost does really well.  It actually manages to tie up almost all loose ends, and the information you're given makes a lot of sense.  From what I can see, there's no plot holes or points that were left open, flapping about in the wind.  There is one element of the show that was left without answer on purpose, and while I would have liked to see a resolution to that, I can understand why it wasn't included.  What is answered indeed gives us the information that fans of the show have been looking for.  What more can you want from a movie?!

Eden of the East: Paradise Lost does a wonderful job of picking up from the last movie and giving us more of what fans really like.  While some people may think that's just story details, I believe the cast of characters involved is much more important.  The series has done a great job with developing characters and clearly showing motives, giving you plenty of people to like and dislike as things went on.  Paradise Lost gives us our last look at the cast as they wrap up their journey, and the whole time you're watching you feel like you're on the journey with them.  It's truly sad to see these characters go, but good to know how the series leaves them with this movie.  The name of the game is closure, and it is oh-so satisfying.

There's one thing about both Eden of the East movies that some people might not enjoy, but I believe it to be silly to find fault in this area.  These movies don't play out as grandiose films, but instead, they feel like longer episodes of the series.  I actually like that...the show is the reason I enjoy the story to begin with!  Just giving me more of it in a movie-style approach is fine by me.  Some people might have been looking for more from these two films, but I believe the storyline of the anime series itself to be movie-caliber as it was, so these films sit just fine with me.

All in all, Eden of the East: Paradise Lost was a great way to end the entire storyline.  It's been a smart, sometimes funny, engaging, pretty and memorable show all the way through.  I really feel like the series and films do a great job of telling a mysterious story that keeps you tied in the whole way through, with the final movie giving you some of that payoff that you want.  How do I know the series was truly worth my time, and the movies as well?  After the final credits rolled in Eden of the East: Paradise Lost, I had that terrible feeling of loss.  The feeling you only get when you know you're losing out on characters and a world that kept you thoroughly entertained along the way.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The never-ending anime

You know, I'm a sucker for an anime that offers up cliffhangers.  They don't have to come at the end of a series, but instead, cliffhangers from season to season are just fine.  There can even be two-part episode cliffhangers.  That kind of stuff may drive most people mad, but I really like having to wait to see the resolution to a big storyline.  That's the key, though.  I really am looking for that resolution.

There are some series' that really walk the line between resolution and open-ended thought.  I don't mind seeing a series end without answering all questions.  If the show was engaging enough, I'll enjoy thinking about what happens after the final scene.  That show just needs to make sure that it wraps up enough of the loose ends to make that final episode/movie satisfying.

Unfortunately, there are a handful of anime movies and series that really don't answer enough questions that are put forth.  These open-ended questions are pushed forward during the entire series, and when you get close to the end, you start to think that some of those elements will be wrapped up.  Answering them with more and more questions just ruins the memory of the show that I have.  I remember it for stringing me along instead of keeping me engaged along the way.

My sister seems to feel that way about Eden of the East.  I don't know if it's going to be the same way for me, because I haven't watched the latest movie yet.  I believe there's a third unlocalized movie that she watched, and said that it left a lot to be desired.  It also didn't really answer anything.  That's making me a bit nervous to jump into the second movie, but perhaps I'll feel different.

What series' have you seen that leave you with more questions than answers?  You're left with an ending that answers nothing, letting it forever play in your head as a show that just didn't bring anything together.  You invested time into the series, and in the end it left you without any answers.  Man, what an annoying feeling that is!

Anime and that special something

There's a reason I like anime.  Actually, there are many reasons that I like anime!  There are so many elements that I appreciate.  I've talked about many of them on the site before, and I'm sure I'll touch upon others as the blog continues.  The thing is, those elements that make me love anime are all parts of other storytelling mediums as well.  It's features that aren't specific to anime, but the anime industry seems to do them so well.  What I'm trying to figure out is that special something that anime has.

I know anime does indeed have a special something.  When I watch anime, I get a feeling that no other entertainment form gives me.  It's a certain sense of satisfaction that I get.  I'm not saying that entertainment forms like video games and movies don't give me wonderful feelings as well, because they do.  I'm looking at this very unique, interesting and awesome feeling I get when watching an anime.

What is it that gives me this feeling?!  Is it a combination of all the elements that anime offer, which end up bringing a unique package when compared to other entertainment forms?  That seems like a cop-out answer to me.  If I feel different when watching anime, there has to be something different about it to give me that sensation.  It's not the design or the art style, it's something that's hiding deep within anime itself.

Do you get that same feeling from anime?  That smile on your face and that glimmer in your eye that only anime gives you?  If so, have you figured out where that wonderful feeling comes from?  What is it about anime that makes that feeling surface, all while other entertainment forms can't seem to pull it off?  Is it something about anime, or something about us in general?

My cousin's kid just made my day

Ah, I love when anime topics randomly creep into my everyday life.  I know that every single day I'll talk about anime on this blog, but when someone close to me brings up anime, it really makes my day.  Case in point, my cousin's kid.  I just went over to my Facebook profile and found a wonderful, if not sad comment left on my wall.

this summer feels empty with no anime experience involved....

This is one of the family members that I watched Death Note with earlier in the Summer.  Like I said, the crew was really into Death Note, and we were all sad when it was over.  Not only did it mean there was no more Death Note to watch, it also meant that we didn't have a reason to get together every weekend and hang out!  That's exactly why I think this comment is both great and sad.

I've already put the wheels in motion for getting the anime group back together.  We just need to find something that everyone in the family will be interested in!  That's no easy task after Death Note!  Some of my family is looking for a comedy, and while I would like that, I know it's going to be hard to find a comedy that doesn't weird some of my family members out.  It needs to be an anime that doesn't feature too much over-the-top direction.

Surely you guys have some great suggestions, right?!

Eden of the East appreciation

I have a simple article to start off the day.  It's going to be Eden of the East related, because that's all I can think of right now!  I'll explain in just a minute.

Eden of the East found quite a following in Japan, and it seems that the series has its fans in the states as well.  While it may not be absolutely mindblowing, it is a nicely written and beautiful anime.  It definitely has some engaging characters and unique twists along the way.  The real key to the show's appeal comes from the storyline itself.  The creators are always dropping just enough breadcrumbs that you can't resist watching just one more episode.

It's all about mystery, conspiracy and intrigue.  As the show progresses, you learn more while also forming more questions.  A good mystery anime will always have you wondering just what's going on, all while you try and piece together the situation for yourself.  With Eden of the East, you have some basic ideas as to what's going on and why, but you're always ready for that next big twist that surprises you.  It's a show that keeps you on the edge of your seat, all while maintaining a rather calm demeanor.

Eden of the East is on my mind today due to the second movie now being available.  I've been waiting awhile to get my hands on this one, since the first movie ends in a bit of a cliffhanger.  I'm really interested to see where the series goes, and with this movie supposedly wrapping up some loose ends, it should be quite engaging.  I'm sure many of you are looking forward to today's movie release as well.

Are you into Eden of the East?  Have you checked out the series?  What do you think of the show in general?

CyberConnect2 reveals .hack//The Movie

The .hack// series has been going for quite some time, and it includes major cornerstones of gaming and anime. I've never played the games, but I've watched a few of the entries in the anime series. Some bits I like more than others, but that was a very long time ago. I think I need to rewatch those series', especially in the light of this announcement.

CyberConnect2, the developer behind the game series, has now announced .hack//The Movie. This entry is an all-CG film that focuses on three friends that enter the MMO universe. As of right now, it's set to release sometime in 2012 in Japan. It remains to be seen if a localization is in the works.

For now, please enjoy the announcement trailer for the film below. Does it look like something you'd enjoy?  I have to say, the unique CG design and soft colors are pretty pleasing!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The perfect anime to break the ice

Ah, the language of love. No one speaks it perfectly, and we're constantly learning it as life goes on. Hopefully one day in life you'll end up finding that special someone that you can share everything with. It's always nice to have a significant other at your side to share your interests with. The thing is, sometimes it can be tough introducing those hobbies to someone that's new to them.

This past weekend on the GoNintendo podcast, we had an aftershow discussion with a listener that had a girlfriend that didn't respect his video game interests. It's a shame to think that people are in relationships where they can't be themselves, and furthermore, that they think it's okay to hide their interests and opinions in order to stay in that relationship. You're out to find someone who loves you for what you are, not what they want you to be.

Obviously this discussion had me thinking about anime as well. If you're just getting into a relationship with someone, you're first objectives are to find out what the other does for work/school/fun. It's the earliest steps you take in building a relationship with someone. They get to know what you like, what you do and how you spend your free time. From there, you will most likely bring each other into those hobbies to share them.

Let's say you have someone you're dating that knows nothing of anime, but they're open to the idea of it. You don't want to start thinks off poorly, which means you need to find a nice neutral anime to start off with. Knowing what's out there and what you've seen, what do you think would make for a great intro anime for a relationship? Remember, you don't want to scare the other person away!

Conflicting styles in the same anime

Anime itself is a very unique medium. There's really no other style of animation out there like it. We certainly don't see this kind of content or look comes from American animation houses. As I said before, I think anime creators take a bit more pride in their work when putting a show together, and that includes all aspects of it. I can really appreciate the time and effort put into anime, since it' so clear to see in my eyes.

One thing that has to be tough for those that work in anime is style switching within a show. As you very well know, there are tons of anime features that switch visual styles while an episode plays out. These style switches are usually accompanied by a certain line of dialog that showcases a different feeling that a character is having.

For example, if someone is really angry in an anime, they might be drawn in a very simplistic style with loud colors and veins popping out. It's like having two different character designs for the same character. This kind of thing can be confusing to those new to anime, because they don't understand that rapid style changes that are meant to further show mood changes.

Some shows use this switch to their benefit, but I believe others overuse it a bit too much. Others still use these switches when I don't think they should be used at all. There are some shows that are quite serious, and when the creators decide to take a simplistic and over-exaggerated style to show an emotion, I end up feeling like the story and mood itself are being overshadowed.

How do you feel about style switches in anime? Do you find them confusing, or do you enjoy the interesting approach to showcasing emotions?

This GUNDAM has gone to bits

Just the other week I was talking about giving the GUNDAM series a shot, even though mecha anime isn't really my thing. Even with that being the case, I can admit that the giant GUNDAM statue over in Japan was an amazing thing. Now the kit has been taken apart and spread out for all to see. Check out the time-lapse video of the dissembled behemoth below.


The Question 8/22: What anime did you check out this weekend?

I am so very ashamed of myself.  This weekend was much more hectic than I thought it would be.  There were all sorts of people in and out, lots of work to get done and a bunch of other things going on.  That lead me to the rather sad situation I'm in this morning.  I didn't watch any anime this weekend!  I feel like I should be scolded by someone!

I didn't even get a chance to watch Durarara!! with you guys, which I still feel guilty about.  I need to find some time to watch the latest episode, which I have recorded.  Hopefully this week calms down and gives me a chance to catch up on that, and then get involved with some other anime content this week.  I really need a fix, and I need it quick!

How about you guys and gals?  What anime did you watch this weekend?  Whatever it was, I sure hope it was good!  Leave us a comment or a Tweet and let us know.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The one anime you just don't like

It's okay to not like things. I think it would be very hard to find someone in this world that likes absolutely everything they come across. To think that someone enjoys every single entry in all entertainment forms out there is mind-boggling. It's healthy to have tastes for things that you both like and dislike. Going just one way or the other 100% would make for a rather boring life!

There's a difference between disliking something and hating/bashing something though. There are people that dislike certain anime series', but they respect those that enjoy the program. Then there are people that hate an anime, and tell those that enjoy it that they're stupid and shouldn't be listened to. That's when things go too far. You may not like something, you can voice your reasons why in a calm and respectful way, but to bash someone for liking what you don't makes little to no sense.

With all the anime out there, it's not hard to find something you like. As you wade through all that content for the gems that you really enjoy, I'm sure you've hit upon one series that you just didn't like. Maybe it was the storyline and characters, or perhaps it was the art or dialog. For whatever reasons, you found an anime series that you just couldn't appreciate in any way.

I'd love to hear what that one series is, but only if you're willing to explain your reasoning! You can't say that you hate a specific show because it's stupid. There has to be a specific reason as to why you are so against a particular anime. If you're up to the task and ready to explain yourself, I'd like to hear what anime series you would recommend staying away from. Hopefully it's not too traumatizing to share the details!

A look inside the creation of Pokemon's Castelia City

The Pokemon franchise has been running long and strong for quite some time now, and that's because of the three main branches of the franchise. The games are more popular than ever, the anime has been running practically non-stop since the game's inception and the trading card game is constantly receiving updates. As you know, each spoke on the Pokemon wheel influences the other, and it's very rare that we get to see just how those design decisions were made.

For whatever reasons, Pokémon game director Junichi Masuda has given everyone a closer look into the design of Castelia City, which plays a major role in both the Pokemon Black/White games and the current anime storyline. His design document details show us just how much planning when into the city's creation, and you might be surprised at just how much meaning some of the city has behind it! Check out Masuda's full reveal in the details below, all of which have been bolded.

●C3(*1)‘s port is shaped like hand.
Open hand is the image of C3.

・Since it is pier, it is floating on the sea.
・Surface is thin concrete.
・Low fence is placed other than platform.
・There are chairs, too.
・There is a mooring mast.

To park the ship, ship’s rope will be hooked to mooring mast.
*In the game, ship’s rope is not necessary(won’t be shown).

●Each fingers
・Most thick finger of all.
・In western culture, folding other four fingers and up represent
affirmation (good) and down represent death (denial).

○OPV(Offshore Patrol Vessel) parks on odd number days.
Sail on even number days(not present).

(2)Index finger

○Cabin cruiser(dinner cruise ship). Sail from evening only(to see sunset).
→Large cruiser.
→To show, departing on the evening and sunset can be seen
on the half way, and returning on night to see night view.

(3)Middle Finger
・It is insulting act to stand this finger and rest of fingers fold.

○Team Plasma’s secret ship sails.
Only sails on the day of prime numbers.
→Ship will be parked on non prime number days.
No hints. Objective of this ship is unknown.

(4)Ring finger
・In Japan, it is called “medicine finger,” since this
finger is used for applying medicine.

○Shuttle cruiser to UT island.

(5)Little finger
・Smallest finger.
・In Japan, this finger is considered as royalty.
There is action called “Yubikiri(cutting finger)”
as a meaning of promise(honesty).

○Distribution island ship.

●Ship A (large ship<2000 to 3000t class>). 1 kind.
・Cabin cruiser(theme color white)

Luxurious cruiser.
Point! When this ship parked at the pier of C3, the giant scale of
its size can be seen.

●Ship B(small ship<1000t class>). 4 kinds.
(Same model but different colors)
・Guard ship(theme color white and red)
・Team Plasma’s secret ship(black)
・UT ship(blue)
・Distribution ship(yellow)

Point! Leading edge cool ship. Small but fast. Few windows.
You can tell it’s a ship from its silhouette.


How many anime are you watching now?

Not enough time in the world, my friends. There's simply not enough time to do all the things we'd like to do. Everyone has obligations that they have to tend to. Some of us are still going through school, while others have joined the workforce. Either way, you have things that need to get done...things that eat up free time. Lump chores and other household tasks with that, and you can see how hard it is to find those precious moments where you get to enjoy the finer things in life.

Of course, we all consider anime to be one of the finer things! Sitting down with an anime is a great way to relax and enjoy some downtime. You can just sit back and let the good vibes roll in. We've already talked about how watching one episode of any anime can lead into watching 10 more before you know it, which makes anime a dangerous way to spend your free time. Before you know it, you have to head back to work/school!

This might lead you to cramming as much anime episodes as possible into a short amount of time. For me, I end up watching a bunch of different series' with my free time, and I put myself into terrible situations. Instead of just sticking with one series, I start up as many as possible. I just can't help myself when a new anime set arrives! I need to pop it in the first chance I get and see how much I love it!

I'm in the middle of about 5 different series' right now, and I'm realizing that I need to finish one before I go on with the rest. That's going to be tough with the next Eden of the East movie almost here, and then the second season of Spice and Wolf a week later. I need to jump on my already-running series' and start finishing them up! If I don't manage that, I'll forget what the hell happened in each series, and then end up confusing them all in my head!

How many anime series' are you watching right now? Hopefully you manage better than I do and view responsibly!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Durarara!! on Adult Swim - Episode 9 live-chat (starts at 12:30 AM EDT)

I have some bad news, my friends.  I don't think I'm going to be able to watch tonight's episode.  Some prior obligations are getting in the way.  With that said, I'm still going to try and be here.  Even if I'm not, I'm putting the chat up for you guys to enjoy the show together.  The world certainly doesn't revolve around me!

Either way, I hope you all have some fun and enjoy the show!

The Sims Social shows some love for anime/manga fans

I hardly ever play Facebook games.  The only one I played before was NOVA, and I played that for about two days.  With that said, I can never resist the call of The Sims, no matter what platform its on.  This time I had to check out The Sims Social on Facebook, and surprisingly it relates to this blog!

I finally got enough money to put a TV in my house, which is what I did earlier today.  When I clicked on the TV for viewing options, it surprisingly offered up the station below.

I don't know that we'd ever see a 'manga' station on TV, since that really doesn't make much sense.  Regardless, I popped it on and watched some quality 'manga' programming.

I like to see anime and manga getting any kind of coverage, and with 5 million people playing The Sims Social already, perhaps some newcomers will look into just what manga and anime are!  The only bad thing about it?  I'm guessing I have this option for viewing on my TV because I picked the 'nerd' character alignment in the game.  For other players that aren't nerds, they might not even see the station.

See!  Nerds and anime brought up yet again.  Just the topic I was talking about last night!

Reminder: Durarara!! Episode 9 live-chat tonight at 12:30 AM EDT!

You know the deal by now, my friends.  We're hosting a live-chat to go along with Adult Swim's airing of Durarara!! tonight.  We're up to episode 9 already!  I can't believe the show has moved as quickly as it has.  I'm really looking forward to tonight's episode!

Come back to the site at 12:30 AM EDT to join myself and other site readers while we all catch the latest episode, and chat about each twist and turn!  We always have a good time, even if the show only lasts for a short while.  Hope to see you all there!

Friday, August 19, 2011

What makes enjoying anime nerdy?

I touched on this one a little while back, but never made it the focus of an article all its own.  I really wanted to hit on the topic and dive into it in order to see if we can come up with anything that makes sense.  I've tried figuring it out on my own, but haven't come up with a notion that makes most sense.  Perhaps some ideas worth discussing will come together when sharing with you guys!

What exactly is it about anime that makes people think it's a nerdy activity?  Anime in and of itself has no nerdy qualities that I can think of.  I'm not even sure what a nerdy quality is!  Is the Supernatural live-action TV show just fine, but the anime adaption is for nerd viewers only?  Is X-Men acceptable in comic, movie and American cartoon form, but Wolverine in an anime style is for nerds?  Do you see why I struggle to make any sense of this?

When people are in love with anime, a lot of others are quick to label them nerds.  This isn't something that happens with other content.  People that love sports aren't considered sports nerds.  Those that love American Idol aren't nerds either.  Does it have something to do with the perceived amount of people that openly confess a love for something?  We know more people love sports and American Idol than anime, so there has to be some truth to that.

Does it have something to do with the fact that anime is animation?  Does the idea of animation for adults not factor in?  We have shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy here, but those shows focus in on rather crude, adult humor.  I happen to love those shows as well as anime.  When anime focuses in on adult situations but in a serious way, that seems to be where others have a problem.  Does anime dealing with serious topics not make any sense?  Can people not take animation in general seriously?

What do you think leads people to believe that anime is nerdy, and watching anime is a nerdy activity?  I think it's an unfair label and see no 'fact's to back it up.  Perhaps I'm just blinded because I'm an anime fan, so someone needs to take my blinders off!

Anime on TV just doesn't meet my schedule!

I've learned something about trying to watch anime on TV.  It lead to my realizing that my schedule is just too full.  I really don't have enough free time, and when I do get that time it's very early in the morning.  That means I don't really get to enjoy anything that's on TV unless I record it, and sometimes I just forget to record something when it's on.  I know I should set a schedule, but that slips my mind as well!

This really impacts my chances of watching any anime on TV when it actually airs.  The one show that I manage to watch every week is Durarara!!, and that's only because I watch it with you guys!  If I didn't have that scheduled time to watch the show and chat with you guys, I doubt I'd actually watch it when it airs.  I'd have the best intentions for a couple weeks and then it would just fall apart.

DVDs and On-Demand anime have spoiled me beyond belief.  They let me get my anime fix on my own terms, and that works out 100% of the time.  I can sit down and watch when I want to, and I don't have to set aside time to actually watch something when the TV tells me to.  I may want to see an anime more than anything in the world, but sometimes that scheduled show ever week just doesn't line up well with what's going on in life.

Do you find it hard to watch anime when it's on a weekly basis on TV?  Have DVDs spoiled your viewing schedule as well?  I really hope I'm not coming off sounding spoiled in this article!  I just have a very busy schedule that makes traditional scheduled anime viewing near impossible for me!

Anime influencing real-life tastes

It's not crazy to picture anime elements in real-life settings, is it?  Now don't get me wrong, I don't want there to be giant mech battles that put the world's people into danger every waking moment.  I'm talking about the more subtle elements of anime.  The kind of content that some people might not give a second look.  It's some of those features that I love to see in real life.  Some of them already exist in the real world, and they may/may not have to do with anime.

I'm not afraid to admit that I love it when girls have dyed hair.  That's not referring to your usual colors of hair that you can buy at the supermarket.  I want those Crayola crayon colors.  The bright reds, the deep blues, the hot pinks and so on.  There are few girls that are interested in doing that kind of dye job to their hair, or are brave enough to actually go through it.  When I do see girls with that hair, I automatically fall in love.  For me, it has everything to do with my love of anime!

I have another love that I'm not afraid to admit, and again, it has to do with girls!  Watching anime over the years has lead me to fall in love with a certain style of voice.  You know how most female voice actors in anime have very cutesy voices, and now I melt when I hear that kind of tone in person.  It's not every day you find a woman in real life that sounds like she's straight out of an anime.  That innocent, perky kind of voice transports me right into a little slice of my own real-life anime heaven.

What elements of anime do you see influencing real life, or mimicking what goes on in the real world?  Do you set your trends based on the anime that you watch?  Are you brave enough to take those anime norms and translate them into the real world?

The key to anime mainstream success is...

Last night I showed you an intro video to Senran Kagura, an anime-style video game that is coming out on Nintendo's 3DS.  The game certainly looks like it could be turned into an anime series at any time, and if the title is popular enough I'm sure that could happen.  The intro video was all in anime style, and it came with the usual collection of fan-service for those that love girls with big...assets.  Nothing too deep or philosophical in there, but the title itself is reaching out to the every gamer.

One of the devs on that project has said that his goal is to reach a mainstream audience with Senran Kagura.  He plans on doing this by including all sorts of content that would appeal to everyone, including boobs, schoolgirls, ninjas and so on.  Obviously that kind of content isn't going to appeal to every single person out there, but it should help bring in a large amount of young men.  That's not really mainstream though, is it?

As one of my followers on Twitter pointed out, Senran Kagura is aiming for a very specific portion of the market, even though the developer is looking to reach out to a mainstream audience.  I guess that audience doesn't really focus on women, because I'm not too sure they'll be interested in a game about busty schoolgirls that are always having their clothes torn off.  Not exactly the best content to make women rush out to the store for a purchase.

This is a problem with anime in general, and I'm turning to you guys to see what suggestions you have.  If you could pick one thing to do to the anime industry to give it a more worldwide appeal, what would it be?  It's a tough question, because you want to make sure anime stays true to itself while broadening its appeal.  Adding in something to bring in new people might take away from what anime is in general.  Do you have any ideas that will bring in newcomers but not alienate the fans out there right now?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The key to universal anime appeal: Ninjas, sushi, schoolgirls, samurai, and boobs

Those aren't my words, but instead, the words of a developer working on the upcoming 3DS title Senran Kagura. If you haven't already figured it out, the game will include Ninjas, sushi, schoolgirls, samurai, and boobs...all in 3D! It seems that one of the main developers in charge of the title believes that these elements are key to gaining universal appeal for a product. I have to admit, most people probably enjoy at least a couple of those key points!

The thing is, there are plenty of anime features out there that already include that kind of content and more. It's all about the actual advertising of the anime that will spark interest in possible viewers. While that content may be appealing to many out there, you have to find the right ways to reach that audience. Without that widespread blanket of marketing, your universal appeal falls flat on its face.

As I said, in this instance we're talking about a video game. Senran Kagura happens to be littered with anime-style animation through, including the intro that you see above. Certainly seems like it could be an anime airing on TV right now! Does that kind of content above get you interested in the game? I know I'm interested, but I'd be happy to see an anime adaptation alongside it! Perhaps if the game is successful enough...