Because everyone wants a pet spaceship.
It’s Conflicting Views Theatre! On the one hand, Tenchi Universe is way too long and largely pointless, with some good story episodes; on another hand it was pretty charming and honestly, what could you cut out of it? I really don’t know. I probably own one of the last copies sold in the Northern Hemisphere (barring Japan, of course, which I think you’ll find actually exists in a continuity separate from our own), so getting it is largely a moot point until, say, Funimation picks the rights from the corpse of Geneon.
Blue Seed took me entirely too long to watch, but that reflects more poorly on me than it does on it. It’s a pre-Evangelion Evangelion. It’s a monster of the week show with national intrigue. It’s a show that starts gruesomely, then settles for some cheap panty jokes, before throwing the fate of Japan into crisis. All things told, it’s pretty good and it’s definitely got that “feel” that I can never qualify but that I always complain about no longer existing.
Do you remember Outlaw Star? It was entertaining enough, although its ending was one of those bizarre mid-to-late nineties weirdstravaganzas you used to get. In fact, I just reread what I had to say about it and realised how entertaining it was – evil cacti, man!
The point is, Angel Links is the idiot quarter sister of Outlaw Star. It’s only thirteen episodes, and it’s one of those series for suckers: it entertains well enough in the first half, then turns into a giant incoherent mess in time for you to shake your fist but have to tough it out until the end. I checked my order history today, and Angel Links shipped November 23, 2004. Would I have been able to stomach it then? I honestly don’t know. I probably would have enjoyed the boobs more, I guess.
Oh yes, this is a show about a girl who keeps a winged cat that can transform into a sword in her cleavage. That’s all that really needs to be said.
“Happiness is only a couple of lines at the end.”
It’s really difficult to imagine it being possible, but “Chapter of the Fledgling” was approximately one billion times better than “Chapter of the Egg”. Princess Tutu speaks volumes about the strength of 26 episode series made up of two thirteen episode series: they tell two stories while telling one, and they have a pace to match that. Naturally in a thirteen episode series you’ve got less time to waste, or to go on tangents, which is why a good thirteen episode series can be so rewarding. So, strangely enough, take that idea and double it and you’ve got something insanely tight, and the second half doesn’t need to bother going to the effort of set up and can just rock your face off right from the start.
Princess Tutu: Chapter of the Fledgling, ends up rocking faces around the world clean off. You won’t even miss your face when it’s gone, it’s just that good.
“Shall we dance?”
One could be forgiven for thinking that Princess Tutu is just another naked prepubescent girl show; indeed, to set up its conceit, its heroine has rather too few clothes in the second episode. Beyond that element, which is always covered tastefully enough, this is a pretty good, albeit quite different mahou shoujo program: rather than a monster of the week, we are confronted by an emotion, and rather than fighting it, our heroine dances with it. It’s an interesting experiment, to say the least.
“Blah blah blah, I’m Stig.”
I’ve finally done it. 14 years later, I have completed the Robotech cycle in Japanese. It’s not really surprising to find that the only one that could really be justified in its endurance is Macross, with Southern Cross turning out to be a trainwreck (albeit one that was cancelled and then hastily concluded, so it feasibly could have been better), but Mospeada is an enjoyable enough romp that was, at times, laughably bad. But always in a good way.
Witnessing the horror that is the turmoil in the anime industry today, I came to a realisation about myself: my reason for watching anime seems to have changed. Having very little to concern myself with in my personal life at the moment (I mean that I have no inner turmoils, not that I’m a blank sack of potatoes), I realised that I’m watching anime to escape from anime.
With a DVD in hand – and I’ve got literally hundreds of them unwatched – I have a hermetically sealed universe: a pact between myself and the series, divorced from any outside influence. For twenty minutes at a time, I don’t have to worry about the fact that Geneon died in the US, and that people are killing each other over “dorama” on the internet (and the fact that they get a cheap thrill simply from the act of typing “dorama”). I’m living for the moment with my DVDs, feeling free to cry, yell, or shake my fists at whatever developments throw themselves at me. Obviously the internet has been fairly indispensable in the development of my direction, but I feel a disenfranchisement that cannot attach myself to it for too long. I like interacting with other anime people, but only to a degree. Going to a convention is rather akin to going to a horror show, except I’m not the one kicking people and performing “Singin’ in the Rain”. I think that the second my brain imploded, beyond all of the shouts of “yaoi power!”, was when I was in Melbourne for Manifest, either ’04 or ’05, and a fat girl in a costume asked to get by me by saying “sumimasen”. These are not my people. These are not people at all.
The reasons I don’t watch fansubs right now are transparently simple: discounting the fact that I really prefer having something tangible to show for my efforts, my computer presently isn’t strong (or conveniently located) enough to warrant the effort, and all of my favourite shows when I was on the circuit appeared to be the ones that would receive the least attention from the fansubbers. For example, Angel Heart has been over for more than a year but the subs are only up to episode 42. I like having an entire series on DVD to devour at my own arbitrary pace rather than someone else’s.
I loved being part of the “blogosphere”, much as I hated that word – and now it looks like it’s been overtaken by 4chan, and a common language has been murdered by bastardisations like “weeaboo”, “copypasta” and that ilk. These are concepts that remove the need for independent thought and encourage a hive mind of unpleasantness; scientific research has proven that people who use “lulz” in all seriousness are more likely to make me cry at the state of humanity – and also to threaten people with planted child pornography, ignoring the fact that they would have to have obtained it in the first place.
I know for a fact that there’s still a lot of good stuff going on, but even as I’ve emerged from yet another personal shell, I’ve regressed back to a man, a DVD and a TV when it comes to anime. I’ll share my results with you, don’t get me wrong – I know that some readers like the past, too! – and I’ll try, oh Lord, I’ll try … to participate a bit outside of my bunker, too.
So I’ve got no answers to the current quandary. Depressing though it may be that a good ship like Geneon has sunk (this site was started on Pioneer, dangit), I can only take comfort in the knowledge that I have my DVDs, and they sure as heck can’t be taken from me. That being said, I either expect a fire, flood, or DVD plague to hit my house. I’ll continue to report back to you from the battlefield that is paid-for anime, and I hope you’ll either start, continue or resume reading. Over the Summer, I will learn discipline in writing, and you will learn … love. Or double your money back.
Come sail away with me, you guys.
It’s a series about people who can manipulate paper! Is it action? Is it comedy? Is it slice of life? Is it a pleasant show about a school girl and her blossoming friendships? Is it a show packed full of barely repressed (female) homoerotic undertones?
Why, I believe it’s all of the above! Although perhaps not all at once?
Apparently the R.O.D. OVA isn’t quite highbrow enough for certain anime connoisseurs. I like to think of them as “weekend warriors”, who treat anime like a wine and cheese tasting: if the bouquet isn’t fruity enough, then why bother swallowing when you can spit it out in disgust?
The original OVA was a long held favourite of mine, because it was a fun action story that also invested a lot of stock in the relationship between the two leads, who throbbed with that special “female friendship” that you only get in anime. I really don’t see how you can fault it, although I admittedly have not watched it since 2003. I don’t care where you’re from, an incontinent, nuke happy President of the United States is funny.
So that brings us to R.O.D. The TV. Where’s Yomiko, you say? Where is the British Library, the “Last Literary Defence Line of the UK”? All will be answered in time: funky awesome time.
Is it possible to watch a show and absorb nothing? I think it is. I also think that Gundam mech designs are really ugly. They’re consistent, but consistency counts for nothing when you’ve got a terrible aesthetic on your hands. Ironically, I chose to give the series a bit of a chance because of the attractive female character designs and the cool OP. L’Arc en Ciel is still going? Who knew! I certainly didn’t.
I’m wondering if maybe it’s a trend that first episodes tell you nothing. Back in my day, we used to have a show stopping first episode, and then we’d chase it up with a few down time episodes to get the introduction rolling proper. We’d also have robots named for every month of the year, and we wouldn’t finish watching it because our eyes would glaze over because while we can pretend we’re having fun watching something silly for a time, eventually it’s going to overrun us.
So let’s look very briefly at Gundam 00 (That’s double-oh but heck, it’s five episodes into the season, you’ve probably seen it already). You know what a great way to ensure peace is? By waging war. This team of dudes, the Gundam Meisters, I believe they’re called, are against the (this is the problem with watching stuff on my PSP on the train, I can’t take notes of all of the stupid names on offer) … let’s call it the Amazing New United Nations, until I bother to sub in a real term if I keep watching this show, but they’re also against terrorists. So they stop a terrorist attack launched by some … other dudes (seriously, I don’t think these ones are named), against a newly opened ballroom … in space!
You can tell that the Gundam Meisters aren’t going to do any terror because their large breasted presumably Chinese cohort is enjoying herself at the entirely gravityless shindig.
So I know what this show is about. I know that it has characters who I assume are girls, but who then open their mouths to reveal deep and disturbing voices. I’ve read that people have also said that it’s full of homoeroticism. Well, I’ll be the judge of that: after all, a guy with entirely girly features with the exception of his voice does not a gay dude make.
But then, veiled homosexuality does not also a good show make. Let a couple more episodes be the judge of this morass of good and bad design!
I imagine that Ghost Hound was born of this trial:
EXTERIOR: Production I.G. Tower, a building that looms ominously against a cloudy and thunderous sky. A crow caws.
INTERIOR: ISHIKAWA sits at his desk, brooding. He is attended to by SHIROW and OSHII. OSHII is humming a jolly tune to himself at a separate table.
ISHIKAWA: It occurs to me, fellows, that it is our twentieth anniversary this year. I would like to do something to celebrate. Have you got any suggestions?
SHIROW: Bugs. Bugs are huge. Also dreams?
ISHIKAWA: Yes, it sounds good. Sounds like it could be shiny. Who can we get to work on the scripts. Oshii?
OSHII: Sorry, Ishikawa, I’m writing an epic poem dedicated to the memory of my dearly beloved cat. I’ll see if I can think of anyone.
ISHIKAWA: Well, does anyone know what Konaka is up to nowadays?
OSHII: I think he’s free; he just came away from writing a series of one off mind-fuck episodes for everyone who had a space going.
ISHIKAWA: Yes, it’s what he does best. Well, we’ll put this one straight to him.
Production commences. A few months later …
INTERIOR: Production I.G. Conference Room. The first episode has just been read, and the OP presented.
ISHIKAWA: What does any of this even mean?
KONAKA: I’m pretty sure it’s profound. Besides, it’s just the first episode. It doesn’t have to mean anything yet.
ISHIKAWA: Very well, I will commission it on the strength of the OP.
KONAKA: Thank you, sir.
KONAKA makes to leave.
ISHIKAWA: And Konaka, one more thing.
KONAKA: Yes, sir?
ISHIKAWA: Boogiepop Phantom had better music than Lain.
There was a time when I used to welcome and embrace the name of Chiaki J. Konaka (I never keep his name in Japanese order because I don’t know how … danged initial). I used to think that his work was always cool and compelling. Then, after a while, some shows would have episodes that were pointlessly confusing or convoluted, and totally different to every episode surrounding them. Every time one of these came on, I would think “this feels like it was written by Konaka” and, lo and behold, most of the time it had been.
That’s not to say that I think Konaka is a no talent hack, because he’s done a lot of good things, but he is entirely capable of obscuring his point behind smoke and mirrors and burying it in stuff that I don’t care about. It was thanks to him that I gleaned almost no fun from Magic Users’ Club TV after such a glorious run on the OVA.
Anyway, to Ghost Hound. I’m not being indignant in saying “what is this?”, because I’m more curious than that, but I think that it’s simply amazing that we’re in a day and age when a first episode doesn’t really have to do anything other than feature a boy who dreams about flying, and recalls his abducted sister on a bed, a punk kid whose father was somehow related to the abduction, and a transfer student who is uncomfortably touchy feely with the other students. The OP is grand, and so far that’s all I can really say about it.
Also, the student psychologist is blatant in his evil looking. Does no one notice? Fortunately, because of my lack of smarts and punctuality, there’s a few episodes already available to ease myself into. The key to getting back into doing fansubs rather than relying solely on my burgeoning DVD collection is to pick good shows. I burned out last year from watching too much stuff that simply wasn’t very good, and the stuff that I did consider very good got abandoned as a result.
So, Ghost Hound: you’re looking okay.