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 Let's talk about manga, maybe some anime, me and you. 
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I remember absolutely loving Yokohama. Should go through it again.


Sat May 18, 2013 5:23 pm
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the mix of distinctly dystopian elements with wistfully nostalgic, more comfortably slice of life elements is pretty goddamn great.


Sat May 18, 2013 5:53 pm
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http://www.amazon.com/Kids-Slope-Comple ... +the+slope

! ! !

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Tue May 21, 2013 4:22 am
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Ooooh. Ooh.

Neat.

Edit - I guess I should rephrase that, any reviews on image and translation quality for it around?


Tue May 21, 2013 4:30 am
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hmmm

there's an issue with the audio in one of the eps, if I remember correctly.

i think they're recalling them, but i can't be sure.


Tue May 21, 2013 5:35 am
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i stole some words from das i'm sure

but i wrote a bit about Adachi's rough


Tue May 21, 2013 12:38 pm
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Great bit of writing on Rough, Roujin, this in particular is a great articulation of the man's better qualities.
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But, more wonderful and more intriguing, is the way that Adachi lets us know completely what’s on their mind. There are numerous panels after panels where his characters witness something, or are in a situation that should warrant some kind of line of dialogue that will illuminate their thought process, but instead Adachi holds back. He gives us a panel full of only a side-long glance, or an almost blank reaction; but what Adachi trusts us to do as a reader is to fill in the blank, and notice that his characters’ brains are at full-throttle at all times. So even though there are no crazy love declarations, or angsty nonsense, when the romantic gestures do come out, they’re based on volume after volume of accrued body language, subtle visual information, and nuanced, elliptical storytelling. It’s a whole lot more complicated than just saying “I love you” - it approaches the sublime.


Whenever I get home, I planning on writing something about the anime and manga versions of Aku no Hana. (Hint, the fan reviled adaptation is actually just better than its source material in every single way.)


Wed May 29, 2013 5:44 am
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I'm waiting for it to finish before I watch the show, but I'm so excited for it.


Wed May 29, 2013 8:10 am
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Post Aku no Hana

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It's a funny thing, in so many ways, the reaction to Aku no Hana is so hugely damning of those who condemned it – because in so many ways nearly everything about the animated version of Aku no Hana is an improvement upon its source material. It's different in aesthetic, but the aesthetic of the manga was kind of actively ugly and plain to my eyes – the innovative, smooth rotoscoping is two-fold, beyond being a unique, well formed aesthetic all on its own – it grounds the characters in the story. The storytelling as well, is markedly more mature, more formed tonally – it doesn't take the kind of hyperbolic drops of the manga, but instead grounds those moments, or injects a sorely needed sense of awareness and humor as to just how ridiculous the protagonist’s adolescents worries might come across as to those of who have gone past those years. The manga, while not an uninteresting story, is a story built within many of the bad habits of manga and anime culture. The anime adaptation isn't made with the same people in mind. It's geared towards those who want to see the medium do something different, something innovative.

And that's really fucking brave, and I admire that. I admire that the show is willing to discard elements of the original to become a better version of that story. It's not an adaptation of a great work, it's one of a flawed work, and it's absolutely suceeding in doing what I think adaptations ought to do more frequently, first, adjust to better suite the medium they're being adapted into, and then see if they can work out even better qualities from the source material. That was risking pissing off 'fans', and did. But in the end, I can't help but feel like 'fuck those people', the complaints against the show seem so remarkably petty, ill-formed. I'd love to see a well formed argument against the animated adaptation, because to me it just seems like a better version of the original's story with better made decisions toward tone, character development and aesthetic. I'd even go so far as to say Aku no Hana is probably the best show of 2013 so far if it holds its quality in the final few episodes.


Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:07 pm
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Post Asura

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This'll be fairly short – as I actually turned this off, but really disappointing bit of animation from a company like Toei animation. I have little against CG – it's useful, it saves time – but if you must fully utilize hand-drawn 2-d animation or fully computer rendered animation, pick one or the other. Asura unsuccessfully mixes the two, It looks lovely in stills (at times), but kind of fucking bad in motion. Like cel-shaded video game characters in otherwise beautifully hand-painted 2-d environments. I made it about halfway before the frustration got to be too much. Beyond the issues of its animation and aesthetic being ugly (in motion, it actually captures in stills very well.), the story is pretty firmly a miserablist one in nature – that's a word I don't use often because I don't think it's a criticism that often legitimately applies to narrative art well as an explicit criticism. But for this, it absolutely does – cannibalism, Japan is in a drought, the city has burned down. The little child with wretched eyes and sharp teeth kills people and eats them. It probably wouldn't be a bad horror film, were the animation not quite so awkward, and the point so thoroughly dreary. Reading the bakabt comments gives me a headache, Misery is not a noble ideal of fiction by itself, tragedy requires a counterweight, a humane center – without it, misery becomes a dull mechanism unto itself, faster than most emotions in fiction. Most of modern anime might at least tangentially involve 'cute girls', but fuck, at least the good new stuff takes advantage of CG techniques to their aesthetic strengths, At least it has a better emotional range than various states of despair and human greed. what would’ve been a beautifully hand-rendered, fluid piece of animation is squandered by an extreme reliance on what's often strikingly video game-esque ranges of motion and cel-shading techniques. It's awkward looking, it's not done well. It may externally look like the stuff from the classic era of anime, but whenever it moves, that illusion is suddenly, and sourly broken. This is awkward, it's one-dimensional, it wasted my time. I'm disappointed.


Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:19 pm
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Post Ultra Heaven

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We have to start somewhere with this, so may as well start simply. Ultra Heaven contains probably some of the most brilliantly complex panels I've seen in comics in a while – and I've read a lot of them recently. A hugely ambitious, psychedelic journey centered upon the basis of identity and emotion – it's in a lot of ways a failure, it contains interesting conceits, even brilliantly inexplicable images that reach at the ebb and flow of sensation, like some kind of gate straight into the brain. Kind of like a particularly vivid trip on mushrooms. The characters are often outside of themselves, reflecting and flittering between past and present – between events that are impossible, and benign, but all rendered with this extraordinary dynamism and sense of scale. If absolutely nothing else, if you admire the craft of illustration – it's worth reading for the art. But really, I've never read something really raps into the feeling of a trip, of those moments, drugs or not, when your brain just seems to drift out towards more lucid, impossible spaces. It's a comic that's largely and successfully built out of the logic of dreams.

It's that what makes the images so impressive to me, they aren't simply a triumph of technical skill, but one of communication as well. At the center of this is a single person's mind being examined, putting forward the impossible, and beautiful question 'what is a human being?', it communicates that visually, through the exquisitely huge panels of towering structures of organic and metal structures. It's taken 10 years to get to 3 volumes – but reading it, it's not at all difficult to see why. This is pretty special stuff. Deeply personal, dealing with a myriad of human issues, its framing of addiction and a drug trip to create a work that explores the human identity is brilliant, it's free, it's incredibly vivid. It's one of the best mangas I've read in years, probably.

You can read Ultra Heaven here.


Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:02 pm
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I've been preparing myself to re-enter the manga/anime world, some manga has been downloaded: Tomie, Pluto, Mosnter (although I've seen the anime), One Piece, Astro Boy and Lone Wolf & Cub. In the anime department, I'll start with Darker than Black, then move on to Code Geass or Serial Experiments Lain. Hopefully, I'll be able to contruct coherent enough thoughts to share here.

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Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:20 am
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I'm not exceptionally fond of the anime you've got on tap, but most of the manga you've got on your hands. Gooooooood stuff. Do share your thoughts as you work through those.


Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:23 am
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I used the list you gave me as a guide. 20th Century Boys was going to be included, but I found Pluto and, being shorter, decided to give it a try first, all of Urasawa's work looks wonderful, Monster (the anime) was really magnificent. Then, after reading about Pluto, I decided to give Astro Boy a try, I have really fond memories of the 2003 series. One Piece is one manga I really liked, I had to get back into it.

About the anime, I decided to watch most of them because they sounded interesting/fun, well, except for Lain, that one has gotten so much praise that it's now a "must watch" or something, so it ended on the list. Have you seen the 3 series? Any thoughts?

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Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:58 am
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I've seen all three.

A lot of people really love Code Geass, but personally I've always found it to be a show that's incredibly average, and more frequently just annoying in how kind of 'anime' it is - it's not unsurprising, but the characterization and tone are very much what you expect out of stereotypical anime shows, just kind of mashed together. I really am not fond of the characters - it's just kind of too overly dramatic for its own good sometimes.

Darker Than Black is good, but it's never really felt special to me. If that makes sense.

Serial Experiment Lain is deservedly important, the visual design is still really interesting. it's got interesting ideas, but it kind of drags a bit in the middle. the set-up and the end are great though.


Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:30 pm
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Code Geass is kinda like a blockbuaster anime title - lots of bombast, but empty. Still lots of fun though.


Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:36 pm
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Das wrote:
Serial Experiment Lain is deservedly important, the visual design is still really interesting. it's got interesting ideas, but it kind of drags a bit in the middle. the set-up and the end are great though.

It's been 7 years since I've watched any of Lain, but I vaguely remember being disappointed by how the series end up dodging answering so many of the questions it had set up. Could be remembering wrong though, and I still found it worthwhile as a mood piece. Will never forget that theme song as long as I live either, despite of how ridiculously Sarah McLachlan-y/estrogen-y/90's Lilith Fair-y it was; shouldn't have worked at all, but it still did somehow.

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Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:39 pm
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roujin wrote:
Code Geass is kinda like a blockbuaster anime title - lots of bombast, but empty. Still lots of fun though.

Yeah, that sounds about right. It's all sound and fury, a huge empty show about nothing too special, just robots and political betrayal and cute girls.

I guess the thing that annoys me about it is that a lot of people are convinced it's a compelling example of depth in anime or something, which makes anime look as shallow as a kiddie pool, to be blunt - and that annoys me, then makes me a bit depressed.


Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:41 pm
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Can't say I wasn't expecting Code Geass to be full of anime cliches, it looks like the right show to have them.

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Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:05 pm
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And I also downloaded a few volumes of Detective Conan, because why not?

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Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:00 pm
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Only a few volumes of one of the longest running series of all time, eh? So, like 10 volumes? :p

Well I guess it's not like you picked up a few volumes of Kochira Katsushika ku Kameara.. or something, that one's more than twice as long as Conan.


Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:16 pm
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Actually, five volumes. I've heard about Kochira Katsushika ku Kameara. It's crazy just how this mangas seem to just go on and on. I mean, comics do to, bu they're usaully written by many different people along their runs, but things like Conan and Kochira are all done by the same guy. Totally insane.

EDIT: At times, it seems like One Piece is going to be like those series. Is it ever going to end?

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Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:25 pm
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Well, I mean, with a series that long-lasting it's undoubtedly loads of money. Like, this much.



Roujin, is Kimi ni Todoke season 2 as good as season 1? It's taken a while, but I'm nearly done with the first seasons 25 episodes finally. Really good stuff, I've just been taking it stupidly slow with getting through it.


Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:31 pm
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Season 2 isn't quite as good. The focus is slightly different; it's less about Sawako's self-confidence growing, and more about the romantic angle of it. There's angst is what I'm saying. Definitely worthwhile though.


Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:31 pm
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Catching up on KyoAni's other 2012 effort, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! it's basically Kyoto animation mashing a bit of Haruhi, a touch of Lucky Star and K-On! in a blender, so it's rather pandering, and not anywhere near as formally interesting as Hyouka is, but.. I don't know, KyoAni is the studio that can absolutely get away with pandering, they make anime that's fundamentally about anime cliches that just blends the right elements together correctly, and it comes out charming and enjoyable instead of insultingly obvious in its aspirations.

Oh, and the animation, music and production in general are all consistently excellent, like always for them. I don't feel uncomfortable saying Kyoto Animation, like what they do or not are easily in the top 5 active animations studios in Japan right now.


Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:53 pm
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Post Garden of Words

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What a relief, after what felt like a lull in quality with his last work, Shinkai’s back in full. The animation, in particular is more gorgeous than ever before – Shinkai’s always demonstrated a real grip of what works in digitally rendered animation, but here, he's doing something really special, the balance of motion and clarity of detail easily make The Garden of Words worth seeing as an achievement in animation alone.

But it's compelling on narrative terms as well, in particular, I found a lot that personally resonated with me – the young man at the center of the film dreams of making shoes – like all crafts, it's hours, years of work – this is an art, it's in sequences of work, quick montages of time passing in-between the days of rain that the film crafts a compelling character out of personal ambitions and hard work. While also masterfully filling in moment to moment details, in the shifting, changing life of a young man.

The other 'side' of the narrative deals with the person the young man meets in the park – predictably, but not often to its detriment, the narrative intertwines the two in each others problems. Eventually, the statement becomes inelegant, a major strength of the film's first half being the silence, and tonal cues it builds, wordlessly creating the little worlds of its inhabitants. But this admittedly, is effective in its own way, just not always as effective dramatically as the film's first half.

On the whole, it feels like a return to form for Shinkai, and just growth – as an animator and a storyteller. His ability to sequence, and create moods wordlessly has greatly expanded – the narrative, about distances, be it emotional and physical, between people is familiar ground. But it's handled with a hand that feels less steeped in youthful nostalgia, and more in the worries and focus of the people it centers around. He still hasn't quite hit the overall high of Voices of a Distant Star for me with this, but it shows he's back on the right track to do it, and it's easily his most gorgeously rendered piece of animation yet, stuff that rivals the best animation studios in Japan and the world, really.
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Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:27 pm
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Das wrote:
The other 'side' of the narrative deals with the person the young man meets in the park – predictably, but not often to its detriment, the narrative intertwines the two in each others problems. Eventually, the statement becomes inelegant, a major strength of the film's first half being the silence, and tonal cues it builds, wordlessly creating the little worlds of its inhabitants. But this admittedly, is effective in its own way, just not always as effective dramatically as the film's first half.

On the whole, it feels like a return to form for Shinkai, and just growth – as an animator and a storyteller. His ability to sequence, and create moods wordlessly has greatly expanded – the narrative, about distances, be it emotional and physical, between people is familiar ground. But it's handled with a hand that feels less steeped in youthful nostalgia, and more in the worries and focus of the people it centers around.

Two great points, here. Shinkai has used silence effectively before, but the stretches of uninterrupted silence at the beginning of Words pretty much set the tone for what is to come. The importance given to these moments, coupled with the details that Shinkai often fleetingly captures, often as they unfold, allow us to fill in these blanks ourselves. As you say, he both creates cues and develops a narrative (if you could call it that) without using words, which is a great strength to have when much of it is so psychological. And yes, much more mature than the last couple of films we've seen. More to the point, too.

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Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:28 pm
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It being a straightforward story is definitely to its strength, but probably the biggest thing that went wrong with his last film was that his narrative was convoluted and just kind of clunky, so he wasn't really ever able to build those moments of development and elegant evocation he's so good at in his best work.

Now I hope his next film doesn't take 2-3 years to make.


Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:24 am
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Ah, I heard of this guy because of 5 Centimeters Per Second. My anime buff friend wants to show that to me. Voices of a Distant Star sounds great, as does this one.


Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:35 am
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I'm about to watch episode 7 of Flowers of Evil.

Maybe the best series since Tatami Galaxy?


Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:52 am
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roujin wrote:
I'm about to watch episode 7 of Flowers of Evil.

Maybe the best series since Tatami Galaxy?

One of them, for sure.


I'm so glad they took the risks they took with the art style, and how they altered the dialogue and tone in just the right ways.


Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:11 am
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another rec, yay

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In a word, I think that, far from favoring directors’ formal inventiveness, widescreen, instead, stifles it. It is, I’m more and more persuaded, if not the only, at least the main culprit for the expressive poverty of the image today. - Eric Rohmer
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Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:30 am
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wrote some about the himizu live-action, and its manga source


Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:17 am
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I don't know why I haven't associated the two before.

Ciguatera is a pretty huge improvement over Himizu, the manga though - I definitely don't have very strong positive impressions of what I remember about that one.


Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:21 am
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Oh, and I just saw from your twitter you're paying attention to the anime adaptation of Attack on Titan? How is it?

After a while, I found the manga really fucking tiresome with the whole..

SO MANY TITAN SPIES. TITAN SPIES ERY'WHERE!


nonsense the author saw fit to bog the story down with as it went along, coupled with the major inconsistency with the art (count how many titans look like mister potatohead). Both are things the anime could potentially fix by keeping the story more straightforward, and I hope they smoothed the frequent rough edges of the artstyle.


Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:39 am
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Post Chihayafuru II [Madhouse, 2013, 25 episodes]

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Chihayafuru 2 closed last week. A lot like it's first season, it remained warmly nostalgic, held strong characterizations and was generally compelling. However, it does feel a bit like a middle child already - at the core of it, Chihayafuru is a sports anime(and manga, that I've avoided reading because I've wanted the show to keep fresh) – and with the label, it carries the near unavoidable annoyances of the genre, particularly, middle portions of the genre. For each success, a stop in the road, of confidence like clockwork. It feels like an arbitrary, and frequently annoying stopgaps in tension and character, meant to build the characters. Thankfully, it's not full of those type of moments – and when they do occur, they're short – nonetheless, it's one of the few criticisms I have for what's probably the best long running anime in a while and deserves some mention.

Most of Chihayafuru 2 is great, as its first season – that effortless, nuanced cast of characters, foreground and background remains – it pulls in and fleshes out new figures easily, the little touches that go beyond the expectation remain – and the ability to work between comedic, dramatic, and warmly joyous moments is still there. It's a series succeeding, and continuing the standard of excellence set before it and growing further.

The second season centers mainly around the Japanese national for Karuta, and pulls back a central character into the drama, Arata – whereas in the first season, he was largely a figure in the background informing the past, here he becomes a focus of the present, along the Mizusawa Karuta club, in their pursuit of the championship – early, I mentioned it's a bit of a middle child, and it is – it doesn't really feel like a final season at the end – but the story in-between the beginning and the end – it doesn't have the same kind of variety as the first season's acquisition of its original cast, and it doesn't span as much of the game – it focuses pretty heavily on the heat of the tournament, and ends on a note that hints at a future ready to build to a proper close, but it doesn't feel like that itself. And I'm fine with that in the end – I'll happily take another season that holds the same level of quality and consistency that Chihayafuru has demonstrated previously, and here as well.
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Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:19 am
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Finished that one as well. a 3rd season shouldn't be out of the question seeing they way they ended it. So good.

Attack on Titan is fun; very dramatic, full of itself, fun.

wrote some words on Ping Pong and its manga.

also a bit on Rurouni Kenshin and the anime.


Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:48 am
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Das wrote:

SO MANY TITAN SPIES. TITAN SPIES ERY'WHERE!


they haven't gotten to this in the anime yet, so *fart noise*


Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:48 am
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roujin wrote:

they haven't gotten to this in the anime yet, so *fart noise*

Well, it'll be enjoyable until that happens, so *fart noise*

The manga for Chihayafuru is still running, so even if Madhouse doesn't do a season 3, there'll still be that. I want a season 3 though.

Yesssss to Ping-Pong. I love the artstyle, and the energy of that series lots.


Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:58 am
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I read real books. Without pictures.


Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:12 am
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Post Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai [KyoAni, 2012, 12 episodes]

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In just about every Kyoto Animation, the sensibility is key to success or failure – at their best, it's a masterful filtration of various genres and ideas, western and eastern handled with a kind of confidence and expertise that makes even the dumbest of ideas seem downright masterful (See K-on!/K-on!! for a show that absolutely shouldn't work, but instead, created and transcended an entire genre it laid the groundwork for.). At KyoAni's worst, they come across as cloying and downright pandering, it needs to be said, they're almost always pandering towards the palettes and trends in Anime at the time – but they do it so well, it's really rather hard to care. They are collectively, one of the few studios that understands how to use reference and tropes without coming across as manipulative.

Chunibyo – adapted from a light novel plants itself on the positive side of Kyoto Animation's oeuvre – it's notably, the single most anime-ish anime they're put out since K-On!. The production value, and aesthetic are as usual, brilliant and technically air-tight stuff. And they know how to do Anime mostly dealing with other elements of Anime exceptionally well, from Lucky Star, Haruhi, to Nichijou – all those series deal heavily in genre expectations. This isn't quite as true at the series' start – while by the end of the series, it had found its way, the series does admittedly seem a bit too heavy into genre at first – it's held together by excellent production values, but the writing and usual sense of investment isn't quite there – it does, however quickly transcend this and grow into something greater across its brisk 12 episode run. A good series, but not quite a great series. Nevertheless, yet another worthwhile Kyoto Animation series.
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Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:07 am
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That one's getting a second season, I think.


Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:03 am
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roujin wrote:
That one's getting a second season, I think.

I'm unopposed to this, though the ending for the first season works pretty well as is.

Speaking of endings, I reread Rough - and that one sure does have a great ending, maybe Adachi's best ending in some ways.


Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:24 am
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Das or roujin or anybody, have you seen Welcome to Irabu's Office? It was recommended by a friend but I haven't bothered to check it out yet. Wondered whether you had any thoughts.

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Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:17 am
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That's more commonly known as Trapeze to me - and it's really good. Wildly colorful, visually and thematically inventive on a consistent basis.


Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:30 am
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Das wrote:
That's more commonly known as Trapeze to me - and it's really good. Wildly colorful, visually and thematically inventive on a consistent basis.

Guess I'll be watching it sooner rather than later, then.

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"I thought, well, heaven, all that marble and giltwork, sounds a bit middle class. I would prefer something that was, I don't know, carpeted and had skirting boards, things like that." — Alan Moore

Last.fm


Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:19 am
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Post Re: Let's talk about manga, maybe some anime, me and you.

getting a review copy of Hiroaki Samura's Emerald (aka Sister Generator)?

Also one of Princess Knight.


Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:48 am
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Post Re: Let's talk about manga, maybe some anime, me and you.

They're giving you review copies now?

Neat shit, Roujin.

This summer season seems honestly kind of bone-dry, less than 5 shows look interesting to me. Plus, they're adapting the new 'arc' of Genshiken, which in its manga form, was pretty shitty and just kind of generally felt like a pandering and disingenuous continuation of something that didn't need to continue at all.


Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:01 am
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Not directly, but the anime site I write those shit columns for is sending me some stuff.


Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:16 am
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Post Re: Let's talk about manga, maybe some anime, me and you.

i'm doing recaps/impressions of the following shows:

brothers conflict
servant x service
kimi no iru machi

none of them are good.

saw some of free!. it's okay. weird male moe stuff going on in that one.


Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:54 am
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