Friday, December 31, 2010

Seitokai no Ichizon DVD fansubbed? NO WAY!


Thanks to ar over at Unlimited Translation Works, there is now a decent fansubbed DVD version of  one of my all-time favourite series. Not that there was anything wrong with the old SS-Eclipse subbed release, it's just that it was based on the broadcast version. Ar, going by the handle "HarEM", did this as a side project "With help from a lot of others along the way". The results show, and are totally worth rewatching. (more)

Haiku Anime Reviews Part the Second: Hen Zemi

Comedy ensues
When a sick-minded psych class
Does sick-minded things.

Thank you. <bows> 
(A very strange OAD, released by Doki and m.3.3.w.)  

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking back at Motto To LOVE-Ru

Motto To LOVE-Ru, AT-X broadcast source, 848x480 h264 AAC encoding, fansubbed by Doki-Chihiro

A beach episode? In an anime? Imagine that.

Well, it's over. My most anticipated anime series of 2010, Motto To LOVE-Ru, has come to it's conclusion. Did it meet up with my expectations?

Sure did. Review (with some spoilers) after the break...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya: A Brief Review



This movie was so worth waiting for. Gonna watch it again tomorrow with my son (a huge Haruhi fan). 

And it will be just as good then as well. 

That is all.  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I take back anything I said about Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt.

I suppose, some months ago, when I first watched Gainax's Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt that I wasn't in the right frame of mind. "Oho," I thought. "It's a Japanese version of a second-rate Adult Swim cartoon" -- and I turned the episode off after a few minutes, mainly because I found the art style annoying.
Not what you expect from Gainax.

Turns out I should have watched longer, and with a better outlook.

This anime is AWESOMESAUCE, with extra sauce on the side. Sure, it looks like something from The Cartoon Network, but The Cartoon Network could only hope to do something this funny and risque. It's multimedia in the best sense of the word, combining regular animation (with hilarious use of art-shifting, e.g. the main characters' transformation sequence shifts to standard anime style and they pole dance), CG and live-action miniature work. The show is foul-mouthed, rude, crude and one of the best things I have seen all year.

Imagine, if you will, a North American cartoon like Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends or Jimmy Two-Shoes with an NC-17 rating and you get the idea. However, the animation is far, FAR better in only the way Gainax could do it. I'm not going to do a long description of the anime; it has been done better elsewhere (like the Wikipedia page on it, for example). I will say this, however: fer crying out loud, Panty (the blonde character in red in the pic) uses her panties as her main weapon -- they turn into a gun -- and Stocking (the goth loli) uses her stockings in the same way.

Consider me a convert. This is the kind of anime that people who don't like anime could easily watch and enjoy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holy crap. I'm old.

So I was watching Shuffle! thinking that I might do a review on it, when I remembered that it first came out in 2005 and that made it a little too old to do any sort of review.
Hmm. This might be too old. Or maybe it's just me.

Then I thought to myself, "wait a minute. It's only five years old. Most of the clothes I am wearing are older than that.". Thinking further, I realized that I have videotapes of fansubs that are more than three times that old. I was a member of the Anime Club of Michigan back in the late Eighties/early Nineties. We met once a month at a comic trade show at a VFW hall in Livonia. We would bring in blank VHS tapes and club members who had the fansubs (mostly Gundam  for me in those days, but I also got such gems as Kimagure Orange Road and Legend of the Galactic Heroes) would dub them for us. Sort of a Samizdat network for Japanese cartoons. Each month, on the way to the meet, I would stop at the local Target or Meijer and grab a bulk pack of cheap VHS tapes, hit the meet and socialize with like-minded Southeasterm Michiganders and fellow Canadians. The next month, I would make the hour-long drive back to Livonia, pick up the tapes (and hit Koyama Shoten -- a local Japanese grocery -- for udon and a couple of packs of Mild Sevens) and  spend the rest of Sunday evening enjoying grainy ELP-quality anime (8 hours per tape! Can't beat that!). Glory days indeed.
Loosen the connection with your monitor to see this in "VHS-Vision!"

Going back even further into the mists of time, in the early-to-mid-Eighties I was stranded in northern Ontario, a poor pale kid stuck in a mining town (Timmins, Ontario) three and a half hours from the nearest city of any size. I was never the outdoorsy type -- surprise! -- so there was little for me to do but watch TV, read comics, play paper-and-pen RPGs and build model kits. Luckily at that time there was a pretty-well-stocked hobby shop and an equally well-stocked comic book store. I frequented both. From the TV, I got to watch the absolutely amazing (for me, at the time) Robotech, as lovingly butchered by Harmony Gold. From the hobby shop I got kits of giant robots bearing the name "Robotech" but, I later found out, in reality from cartoons called Fang of the Sun Dougram and Super Dimensional Century Orguss. I also got the Palladium Robotech RPG, where I learned that what I knew as Robotech was actually the bastard creation of an American company, smashing together three separate anime (or "Japanimation") series into one barely coherent story.(In later years, I would watch Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA and curse the day Carl Macek was ever let loose on those masterworks.).
Thank you, Carl Macek, and Curse You as well.

The same channel yielded a strange cartoon called Astroboy that had really cool tech and a robot main character with bizarre hair. Again, it would not be until much later that I found out the show I was watching was actually the second iteration of the Osamu Tezuka classic Tetsuwan Mighty Atom and was made specifically for the Canadian market.

Around the same time, the comic store yielded a comic that was unlike anything I had ever read: Area 88, by Kaoru Shintani. Being as I was in Air Cadets at the time, the story of mercenary pilots fighting a desperate war in the Middle East really struck my fancy. It was gritty, beautifully drawn and had more than it's fair share of tragedy and brutal violence. I still have every issue, going back to the first one I purchased (issue #1).

Still have it, mint, in bag with backer. Value: $2.

Scraping clean the last layer of this archaeological geek dig, we find ourselves in the late Seventies. A seven-year-old kid runs home from school to catch his favourite cartoon, Battle of the Planets (Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, the American version), shown every weekday at four o'clock on Global TV. His life hinged on whether Mark, Jason, Princess, Tiny and Keyop, with the help of 7-Zark-7 and 1-Rover-1 (whose animation looked completely different, thank you Sandy Frank!), would be able to protect Center Neptune and the Earth from the evil Spectra and its dastardly minion, the lipstick-wearing Zoltar. They unmasked Zoltar in one episode -- and there was a flash of long, blonde hair! Was Zoltar really a woman? We never found out...

You wanna bet I had this kit when I was eight.
That same kid really pays attention in French class because the French channels have more of the same style of cartoon: Albatore, Corsaire de l'espace (Captain Harlock) and Goldorak (UFO Robot Grendizer), and if he learns French he can understand what the hell is going on; for example, why the pretty green ladies burst into flame when they are shot in Albatore..

Sure, it looks cool, but what are they saying?

Yeah. I'm closing on forty years old, here; been watching anime in some form or another for about 30 of those years. Suddeenly, a five-year-old series doesn't seem that ancient...

P.S.: Check the Zettai Ryouiki on Princess. Some things never change.

Until next time...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Another face 'round these here parts

So a little earlier today I was talking to my good friend Devolution and, while comparing anime we had been watching, I realized that it might be nice to have another viewpoint, especially by someone who watches different sorts of anime than I do. So to that end I invited him to post here as well (you can see his name down in the "contributors" box).


Friday, December 3, 2010

Fanboy Squee, Yuri, and related stuff.

Leading the coolness front (at least as far as I'm concerned), is that a new chapter of To Love-Ru Darkness (manga) has been released in English. It can be found at CXC Scans' website. I do urge all to check it out.

In more cool TL-R news, fansubbers Doki and Chihiro have begun jointly releasing the Motto To Love-Ru Blu-Rays. Happiness in the form of harem fanservice. Review to come presently.

In other anime-related fluff, I have been busy the last couple of days stuffing my cranial space with Koihime Mousou. I am halfway through Shin Koihime Mousou (the second season) right now, and am enjoying it immensely.

One of the other hats I wear is as a proofreader/quality checker for the scanlation group Kawaii Scans, a group that does yuri manga. How did I end up there? That's a good question, but I am enjoying it so far. Sachiko-sama is a good boss to work for, and really enjoys what she does.We've worked on quite a few really cute things, and this is good.

So why Koihime Mousou? Well, I figured that since I am doing all this yuri-related stuff, I should watch more yuri anime. Simple as that. I have already watched the excellent Candy Boy and the better-than-average Kanamemo (though the manga is awesome) and am currently working through the angsty Sasameki Koto.  I've also received some great suggestions for other series that I am looking forward to watching. 

So until next time.