Thursday, December 28

Real life mecha? Huh?

Can anyone verify this truly first live mecha?

More here.

History of Super Sentai Series

I recognize some of the series shown here but I have no idea it is very prolific and so many I never seen before. A lot of them looked better than Power Rangers.

Just like super robot series, this video brings nostalgic memories for me. Part of me that will never go away.

BF 2142 Mecha

Looks great! I want to play this game like now.

Moe Lolis, rejoice redux..Zero no Tsukaima Season 2


Second season of Zero no Tsukaima is coming. After such hasty ending of the 1st season which kills off interesting story buildup, I can never imagine how they gonna salvage this wreck.

As usual, I will look at it but with jaundiced opinion. From I gather, the novels is supposed to be quite epic and sweeping which fails to be conveyed in the anime.

Link is here for Japanese speaker.

Malaysian Cosplay stuff


My country anime fans seem to take cosplay hobby pretty seriously. No doubt, it has serious money for serious cosplayers. RM 2000 is a lot to a typical school going teens or young adults in college or university.

Interesting to see how vibrant this cosplay culture, in my own country.

Full article.

The music video of Black Lagoon OP.

The music video of my fave anime OP of the year, Red Faction from MELL.

Weird Cosplay Video

The cosplays are good but I have no idea in hell's bell it was associated with the song. The song is one of those used in "wuxia" series which is popular in HK media. How it come to grace the cosplay, I have no idea.

Tuesday, December 26

Rozen Maiden Overture OVA

2 ep OVA, looks great. Will do a short review after I watch it.

Miyazaki's Giant Clock

Miyazaki Senior lasting legacy, enshrined as a giant clock structure adorning the headquarters of TV station. Pretty awesome and nice to look at. Has his theme all over it.

Here is the link.

Thursday, December 21

A parody of Tachikoma MasterCard Ad


The one of the few.

Anime through an American eye

"I was staying with a Japanese friend of mine when I first saw Matsumoto-san's manga. Keep in mind that I'm not someone who is an otaku (obsessive fan) at all. I don't really read manga much, even today. I just had some time on my hands and I was looking for something to check out. My friend, who knows my tastes very well, suggested I might like it. He pulled out this three-book version of "Tekkonkinkreet" and said "nakeru yo," which means something in Japanese like "keep a box of tissues handy." It was probably 1995, right around the time of the sarin gas attacks and the Kobe earthquake. There were these black helicopters buzzing around and you could turn on the TV and see people getting stabbed in real time".

The full article.

This man is responsible for Animatrix and generally considered as big figure on anime fandom in USA. His views are interesting, considering that he is one of the few gaijins in Japanese anime industry.

Tuesday, December 19

Old Super Robot Series.

Man, this brings me back to great old days. My fave is God Mars.

This is part of my heritage, I was raised on this kinda shows. Ahhhhh, good old days.

Saturday, December 16

Art imitates life, or other way round.

'Nodame Cantabile' manga character exists in real life

Megumi Noda, the star character of the manga series "Nodame Cantabile," which was a popular feature in the woman's comic magazine "Kiss," and became a hit as a Fuji TV drama, exists in real life, it has emerged.

"Nodame Cantabile" tells the story of a meeting between Shinichi Chiaki, an elite student of Momogaoka Music Academy whose father was a famous pianist, and Megumi Noda, a hopeless piano student going by the nickname "Nodame," who lives in a messy apartment.

Full link is here.

Another play on old words, "art imitates life".

Such is funny moments in life. Might want to check it out due to this reason. I like classicals, but not the technicality of it. I just like to listen.

Want to be Nausicca?

The Open Sky Project 2.0

This is a machine that allows people to experience flying like Nausicca's mave (or muave) in the seminal work by anime master Miyazaki (Senior). The machine designs is clearly inspired by the anime movie.

I am too heavy for this contraption but it sure looks pretty and cool bananas to the max. On display at NTT ICC exhibition in Japan.

Another site in Japanese.

Tuesday, December 12

Comparision between Matrix and Ghost in the Shell

As the title says. It is very interesting side by side comparision. Watch it.


Part One

Part Two

Now this is really awesome stuff. I want one for myself. Hahahaha!

This is really nice PS2 Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex video.

Monday, December 11


One of the my top favourite mecha design, this anime fell short of my hope that it will be pure political thriller with mecha twist when they using some Shinto mumbo jumbo with reborn theme of lovers thru out time.

Why they can't just stick to simplistic mecha story with good political game? This anime is quite old, about 7 years.

The mecha known as Raideen (Lightning Thunder), built by Japanese Self Defense Force as primary combat general purpose mecha system. The control is closest we can get for realistic mecha operations, incorporating voice activation and F-16 like joystick with close ground support supervision.

Someone said on Starship Modeler forum, if IDF have mechas, this how it will look like.

Malaysia Borders Bookstore Manga Club

Love reading manga? Why not curl up in a comfortable chair and discuss it with likeminded people at a bookstore? ELIZABETH TAI finds out about Borders’ Manga Book Club.

IMAGINE being able to discuss a manga and make friends at the same time in the comfort of a bookstore. If you fancy this, you’d be glad to know that Borders bookstores will be launching a Manga Book Club this month where you can do exactly that.

Full article is here.

Man, I have a good reason to go back to Malaysia now. Nothing beats the joy of hearing reading and sit around with like minded people. It is about time anyway, since manga has quite a following in Malaysia with long affinity with comics as one of the genre. I still remember the old days of localized Malay comic books which quite vibrant and Chinese Jade Man comics, selling in some smelly cheap corner store owned by an Indian. Those were nostaligic days.

Good days are surely nice to remember.

Saturday, December 9

History of Dragon Ball.

"Dragon Ball is a Japanese manga by Akira Toriyama serialized in the weekly anthology magazine Weekly Shonen Jump from 1984 to 1995".

Wikipedia entry.

I have to confess one thing here. I used to like the series until it becomes too powerful for my taste. I always remember fondly of adventures of young version of Goku, as he romps around the world with his wild antics and martial arts ability. I was having a good laugh as I flip thru the Chinese translation of the manga.

However when comes to middle part later on as he grew up, this is where my interest wanes. I mean, how many times you can see a fight that can destroy Earth, mountain, galaxy or hell, fighting in heaven after death you can take?

Mainstream public always wanted a fighting story with unlimited destruction but I am in the minority camp where I like to read about comedy of growing up, like for example the story of young Goku.

But like it or not, this franchise is still strong, with almost 22 years worth of run in popular media in most countries which were exposed to anime. In commercial sense, it is a resounding success but as story itself, I am not too sure what to say about it. I can count many of peers who grew up on Dragon Ball and still talks about it in excitement. 20 years from now, this process will be repeated again with old time Naruto fans. History repeats itself, automatically.

Friday, December 8

Kara no Kyokai

Rumors are surfacing about anime adaptation of Kara no Kyokai (Garden of Sinners), old work by TYPE-MOON masters, Takeshi Takuechi and Kinoko Nasu who were responsible for smash hit visual novels Shingeshutan Tsukihime and Fate/Stay Night.

This link shows female Shiki, main character of Kara no Kyokai as part of 2007 calendar. Many fans especially on Beast Lair is speculating on its possibility to be anime soon in 2007.

The link

Needless to say, I am very excited by this prospect of another TYPE-MOON works in anime format. The work is not a multi possiblity ending of material so hopefully an anime adaptation will be good enough if they just stick to the story faithfully.

Tuesday, December 5

Another discussion on Moe

"... If you’ve ever thought about the intersection of labor and capital with big eyes and small mouths, this one’s a must read. My question is: if Karl Marx were alive today, would he be a CCS fan?


Pronounced “moh-eh”, it is a Japanese word that is written as “萌え.” Its original meaning is “to bud” in reference to plants. In modern Japanese society however, particularly among the Japanese “otaku” subculture, the word has taken on a different meaning".

Full Article.

A very erudite and well written topic on this mostly misunderstood word. Not many anime fans outside Japan really grasp the significance of the word, just like yours truly here. Have fun reading.

Friday, December 1

Singaporean and Japanese colloboration anime effort

SINGAPORE, November 30: The trailer for Justeen, an anime series co-produced by Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Japanese animation studio Anime International Company (AIC), premiered at the Asia TV Forum this week.

Full article

My country still floundering producing sub standard animation like Keluang Man and Ujang, whereas Singapore is going in leaps, now having a joint venture with Japanese company in making anime!

Malaysia! Wake up!!!!!!

When are we going to shine in animation? Is not that we don't have any talents! What is going on here?!

Thursday, November 30

History of manga prose

Tezuka Osamu and the Expressive Techniques of Contemporary Manga

Tezuka Osamu's Debut: A Manga Prose Revolution

Manga today is flourishing on the foundations laid by Tezuka Osamu. This article will discuss that foundation in terms of expressive technique.

Foreign, and particularly European readers often describe the experience of reading Japanese manga as similar to that of watching a film. This characterization was also on the lips of the young Japanese readers who would go onto become manga artists themselves when they first read Tezuka Osamu's New Treasure Island upon its release in 1947. Postwar and contemporary manga was born with this first "cinematic" work.

Full article is here.

Another concise writing on history of manga, this time on prose. Pretty good start for beginners of manga fans. It explained and eloborate on this aspect of manga and how it featured in Japanese pop culture history and affecting the world comic reading as we know it today.

Wednesday, November 29

More news on Fate/Zero

Genre: Collaboration Novel
Release Date: Comiket 71 (12/29/06-12/31/06)
More information on 12/12/06

The writer that is assisting the Fate/Zero project, Urobuchi Gen, is the original founding member of Nitroplus who wrote Phantom of Inferno, Vejedgonia, and Kikokugai.

Credit: Evospace in Beast's Lair

Really sparse information so far.

A book review on hikkikomori

Retreating Youth Become Japan's 'Lost Generation'

This is an interesting article review on book by Michael Zielenziger, talking about phenomenon known as cockroach child or hikkikomori syndrome, which become Japan's silent social problem. It has an excerpt from the book. Pretty tough to read for me actually.

Recently Welcome to NHK! is talking about this anime, it is harrowing and depressing but oh, it is so true.

An interesting article to read.

Revenge of Japanese Nerds?

This article talks about normal stuff of Japan that most of us already knew including a showcase on one cosplayer who is a dedicated fan of the genre. It has radio link too, so the article is not just text based. The writing mostly generalist, covering maid cafe, otakudom and geekdom. Nothing really new here actually.

However the cosplay is good. I quite like the details.

One day I might go to the Show just for the heck of it.

The Land of the Comic Book

Comic books have a wider following in Japan than most people would ever imagine. Nearly 40% of all printed items are in comic form. About 350 comics and 500 comic books are published every month. Twelve comics appear on a weekly basis, the most popular being Shonen Magazine, with almost four million copies distributed every week.
Reading comics is a more popular leisure activity than going to the movies or reading novels, and may even be more popular than watching television or listening to music.
Comics, called manga, provide a cheap, easy way to amuse oneself. They can offer much more. "How To" books, works of general academic interest, and other books introducing subjects like law or economics are also published in manga form. Companies may even use manga for their brochures and advertising.

Full text is here.

A generalist essay to explain why manga is more than just manga in Japan. Actually the scope is from usual manga to safety awareness campaign type of mangas, I seen it before. This kinda manga shows the dangers of problem and how to avoid it with increased awareness. This writing is like introduction of manga 101 for most newcomers to this entertainment niche.

Manga is not just a medium of entertainment in Japan, it is also a form of lighter version of instruction manual for people to follow. It is a national identity for Japan as it has hundreds of history behind it, from days of Ukiyo-e woodprints to modern manga that we all recognize today.

What is Ukiyo-e?

Tuesday, November 28

Gundam Pockys

Ahahahahahah! This is too wacky for me! Behold! Gundam Pockys!

Original site.

JETRO discussion on soft power

Japan’s Soft Power Moves into the Limelight

Soft power as opposed to hard power has recently been attracting attention. Hard power consists primarily of the military and economic capabilities that a country possesses, while soft power arises from a country’s culture and values and may include, for instance, democracy, human rights and individual liberties.

The Harvard professor of international politics, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., coined the term soft power in the second half on the 1980s. Soft power is, he says, “The ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments… When you can get others…to want what you want, you do not have to spend as much on sticks and carrots to move them in your direction.” In his 2004 book Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, he argues that hard power and soft power together are responsible for the rise and decline of states.

In the case of the United States, he observes, powerful military might and economic strength can be used as coercive forces against other countries, but the people of the world are also influenced by the attractive power of America’s culture and values, including Hollywood movies, American music and social values built on freedom and democracy.In Nye’s view, the United States and the rest of the world need to gain a better understanding of soft power and place more emphasis on it as they seek to resolve the difficult problems in international politics now confronting us.

Japan’s National Cool
Nye has also addressed the subject of Japan’s soft power. In “Nihon no sofuto pawa: Sono genkai to kanosei” (Japan’s Soft Power: Its Limits and Potential), an article carried in the June 2004 issue of the foreign affairs magazine Gaiko Forum, he observes that even as Japan was going through a decade of economic stagnation, it continued to build up soft power on the foundation of Japanese culture. He sees Japan’s soft power as deriving not just from Zen, karate and other elements of traditional culture but also manga (Japanese comic books), anime (Japanese animation) and other elements of popular culture.

Full article is here

This article underlined some of my basic understanding on why soft power is very crucial in understanding the dynamics of international relations in general which generally ignored in most parts by many people.

On how far can it go? Not sure but it does influence a lot of aspects of culture that most intellectuals miss in their assessment of world in general.

In nutshell, what makes a nation powerful is soft power, the appealing aspects of their entertainment culture should not be underestimated. What saves USA from complete pariah status today is their massive Hollywood and Mac Donalds culture, not their armoured HUMVEEs or M1A2 Abrams. Or as the article above emphasizes, Japanese anime and manga helped to ease Japan out of economic stagnation to a large degree.


The ever famous female only manga group, unleashed titles like Tsubasa Chornicles, X and Chobits on the world. In this NY Times article below, it summarizes the popularity of CLAMP and why it is considered as major force to be reckoned with in manga/anime world in large. Personally, I felt their best work is xxxHOLIC which I was constantly intrigued by the story quirkyness. However CLAMP tend to "overemotionalize" male leads which can be trying on nerves.

Now their work is gaining more and more recognition in USA, perhaps staying around for long, long time to beguile anime viewers with more interesting stories that is can be described as typical CLAMP.

I am looking forward torwards their next thing as long the leading character is not too angsty driven to the max.

NY Times article on CLAMP.

Monday, November 27

My fave Gundam still

Yup, the Dendrobium RX-78 GP-03. It appeared in Gundam Stardust Memory OVA.

Gundam the Ride, Fujikyu Highland Amusement Park, Japan.

I want to ride this! O_o

The promo site.

Wikipedia's Entry.

However, fighting at such high speed, unless they have something like G dampener it is going to be hell on the pilot's physique. I do wonder if human body is built for such high speed combat in space as depicted here.

Blue Dragon.

I do wonder if this title will be as popular as Pokemon or Sailor Moon. But this is classic case of muscle marketing, brutally forcing itself into people's mind and emptying their wallet in due process too. Microsoft is no stranger to power marketing, anyway.

It remains to be seen if this is going to be another Microsoft success story.


Nodame: From manga to TV to cafe

A restaurant in Harajuku, Tokyo, has opened a temporary cafe to tie in with Fuji TV's drama series, Nodame Kantabire (Mondays, 9 p.m.), re-creating the heroine's messy room and serving special dishes that appear in the series.

The TV drama is based on a manga series of the same title, which features an aspiring pianist studying at a music college.

Full article is here.

There is no limit when comes to merchandising power of manga in Japan. This is really creative stuff and I am gob smacked by the sheer ingenuity of the whole idea. I wonder what is next in marketing manga based memes.

An article on Germany's case of manga culture

This is one article talks about the story of mangas influencing readers in Germany. It is a good summary and I generally concurred with most the salient points raised in the feature article. As seen in the article pictures, the quality is on par with Japanese artist and I assume the storytelling will be almost as good. However I haven't seen any German styled manga yet, so I reserved my comments on this topic. I do wonder how pervasive manga is in Western Europe.


Tokyopop Create Your Own Manga

Create your own manga

Now this is an interesting development. I can't wait to see the diffusion of manga culture in US, seeing how far imitation has gone in creating the synergy of the culture in discussion. However, I can be putting too much generalization here, I have no absolute proof about my earlier statement. But it is an interesting project.

Is it possible one day that US going to have their own subset of manga culture that is different from Japan? Megatokyo evolution would seem to suggest that way but nothing is conclusive yet.

Maybe in 10 years time, we shall see a schism between US and Japanese style of manga culture. Something like what happened in Martin Luther and Catholicism.

Speaking of which, DC Comics now targeting teenage females in this article. Could it be they learning from mangas in Japan? I do wonder if they going to include pretty boys in their lineup just like the Shonen offers in Japanese manga titles.

Saturday, November 25

'Paprika' spices up the anime aesthetic

Andrez Bergen / Special to The Daily Yomiuri


4 stars out of five

Dir: Satoshi Kon

Voice cast: Megumi Hayashibara, Akio Otsuka, Koichi Yamadera, Toru Furuya, Mitsuo Iwata, Rikako Aikawa

The opening minutes of Paprika introduce the pivotal character of police detective Konakawa (voiced by Akio Otuska), and his recurring nightmare, which revolves around the spliced-and-looped discovery of a homicide victim.

Director Satoshi Kon then undercuts this traumatic vignette with references to a roll call of Hollywood standards, like Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth, Tarzan the Ape Man, Roman Holiday, and Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, all rolled up into one sweet dream sequence.

Full source is here.

I am looking forward to this anime, hoping that it will not as deary as Millennium Actress. The visuals are great but the anime movie lacks the punch to carry it thru the usual film mediocrity ceiling. For me, an anime film must have something more special besides pretty pictures. Same problem goes for GONZO's Agito, Spirits of Origin which suffered from lack of plot coherence despite the poetic beauty of its animation.

It seems to me that basic issue of anime films mostly too art focused, forgetting the story in return. Hence the reason why Miyazaki films doing so well because he did not neglect characters.

Friday, November 24

Bokko Live Action

Another adaptation of manga into live action movie, starring famous Hong Kong veteran Andy Lau, it talks about exploits of military strategist Mo Ge Li helping a weak nation against a massive invasion by a bullying neighbor country. The live action movie involved massive money about US$ 16 million ( it is a big money for HK cinema) and collaboration of 4 major entities from Hong Kong, China, South Korea and Japan to get the movie ideas into reality. Also known as Battle of Wits, it is scheduled to be released this month to the world. It could be the biggest event movie in Chinese cinema 2006. According to Andy Lau, it is a 10 year project.

In Europe the manga goes by name of Stratege.

Source from IMDB

2nd source.

Thursday, November 23

Cities promoting manga, anime resources

Efforts to attract tourists with manga or animation resources have increased among municipal and town governments across the nation.

In Kyoto, where Kyoto Seika University set up the nation's first faculty of manga in spring, Kyoto International Manga Museum will open in the city's Nakagyo Ward on Saturday.

The new regional strategy of the ancient capital has drawn nationwide attention.

As Kyoto has many cultural assets associated with contemporary animation, including picture scrolls of animals produced from the Heian to Kamakura periods (794-1333), some observers maintain that the city is the birthplace of manga.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Japan now capitalizing on its soft power, anime and manga culture to get more tourist money. The economy is not doing too well and they looking for new directions to make money. Guess they found a new way to market "Made In Japan" motto to the world now. This is a follow up from the opening of the Kyoto Manga Museum entry, 1 day ago.

Wednesday, November 22


The prequel to famous visual novel from TYPE-MOON, Fate/Zero is coming. It talks about the 4th Grail War which Shirou's foster father fought, Kiritsugu Emiya. Already the website revealed suited Saber, Gilgamesh and possibly Iskandar which known to Western world as Alexander the Great. The respective Masters are Kiritsugu, Kotomine and a female which many people speculate as Ilya's mother.

Me excited? You bet!

PS: I noticed Nitroplus involvement in this. This people are famous for their gun themed visual novels such as Phantom of the Inferno. I guess Fate Zero will have a lot of gunplay since Kiritsugu is famous for his handgun skills.

PPS: Well Kiritsugu did conceive Ilya with someone from Einzbern family, so maybe they will be ero scene.

Alexander the Great achievement even as human is legendary. So as time goes, his exploits becoming more and more like fable as humans remembered him. So, when he is summoned as Servant (I think as Rider class which pretty obvious with his steed, Buchepalas), he fits the classification as a hero or enrei.


UPDATE! Anime is on!

International Manga Museum in Kyoto

New Manga Museum in Japan?

This is an awesome place, earning place in my places to go in my lifetime goal. It will display the rich Japanese history in manga and pictorial based story telling. About 200,000 items from old era to new age will be on show in the museum. Wow! I just so excited that such place exists for people like me who likes history and wants to know more about this elegant subject.

Tuesday, November 21

5 cm Trailer by Makoto Shinkai

This YouTube trailer did not do justice to its sheer beauty of the trailer, get it from this original website

This is highest resolution for higher computer specs.

It did make me gulp in excitement and I do want to watch this feature. I enjoyed Voices of Distant Star and Beyond the Clouds so this is no different from the rest he offered. It somehow reflected a great soul in make, not just commercialized feel of it.

I will post a review on Hoshi no Koe soon.

Monday, November 20

Fate/Stay Night Reality Nua PS 2 Opening

Alright! I am looking forward towards this work as it featured some new story and new CG. I was wondering if it will enchance the story of the game or not.

But being a TYPEMOON fan for long time, I am looking really forward to this work. Saber FTW.

Hayao Miyazaki personal view on anime

About Japanese animation
By Hayao Miyazaki

It was 1958 when Hakujaden (The Legend of White Snake), the first feature length color cartoon movie in Japan, was released. In the end of that year, I, who was a senior high school student and was supposed to be preparing for the university entrance exam, met this movie at a third-class cheap movie theater.

Full article is here.

Words of anime appeal from maestro himself, Hayao Miyazaki. He felt that anime is a transition, not absolutism in itself, however he did express his views on modern animes as lacking in soul as it is too commercialized. How true is those words? I personally did not really agree with him on that but maybe it is cultural relativism he is trying to stress.

What I see is different from his, so clash of opinion is undoubtly inevitable.

Sunday, November 19

Batman: Child Of Dreams by Kia Asamiya and Max Allan Collins

There have been a few attempts to meld the worlds of disparate worlds of manga and American comics. One of the more successful attempts is Kia Asamiya's manga Batman: Child Of Dreams. First published in Japan in 2000 and making its way to the U.S. three years later, Child Of Dreams is not your typical take on the caped crusader. With its slightly surreal storyline and gorgeous artwork, Child Of Dreams proves that maybe the worlds of manga and American comics aren't so different

Full article is here.

This is a review on synergy of Western and Japanese comic styling on one title. I haven't read this particular work and I was very intrigued to see how the combination goes. Could be a very good thing since I do believe that diversity is much more superior than one genre approach of all things.

I do hope more works like this will be common in future. Anyone for Alex Ross rendition of Pokemon? Hahahhahaa.

Serious note though, I always felt Japanese lack resolution in story department whereas US has predictability feel in comic storytelling. Perhaps such collaboration will bridge such weaknesses to create a truly impressive work of art to be enjoyed by all people. Maybe.

Friday, November 17

Shakugan no Shana (2005)


This anime talks about Yuji Sakai, a ho hum typical Japanese secondary schooler living his normal life. Suddenly out of nowhere, he was trapped in time freeze and much to his horror he facing strange entities "eating" people's essence. Uncomprehending to the new alien surrounding, he was spotted by the malevolent entity and the beings considered him quite a catch as they remarked he has a rare treasure within him. Grabbing him, ready for consumption, he was saved by another strange entity with red hot eyes and burning hair armed with ancient Japanese sword. The entity resembled a young girl and she dutifully dispatched the hungry beings while bewildered Yuji looked on. She then restored the situation and after being prodded by Yuji, she snapped that he is already dead and his existence is temporal.

From there, he found out that the world he just witnessed is a major battlefield between denizens of the realm, one side disregarding balance of existence while the other one fought to preserve it. The person saved him has no name, hence he decided to name her Shana, the first link of humanizing her. The series went on how they become close together, how both of them grow and becoming who they are in the end of the series.

Shakugan no Shana is based on series of light novels by Yashichiro Takahashi and illustrated by Noizi Ito. It has since adapted into 24 episode anime series and a manga project. Using some elements of mysticism, sci fi and chambara traditions, this anime managed to climb out from typical magical girl with sword genre thanks to good characterization of the principal players in the story.

Rating: 8


The animation and art is sufficient for the series portrayal of the characters. Nothing too fancy except for occasional CG and little bit more animation towards the end of the series. The character design reminded me a bit too much of Haruhi since they shared same illustrator but it did not detract anything from real purpose of anime should be, good storytelling. To summarize my opinion here, the art is adequate to convey what it needs to convey and nothing more.

Rating: 6


The voice actresses of series (Japanese) lived up to their reputation such Kawasumi Ayako ( Lafiel and Saber), successfully fleshing out the people as the voices is convincingly fit the character. Shana's VA Rie Kugiyama brings out her feisty spirit well and viewers really get the feel from her as a hotheaded, no holds barred warrior female.

The first OP (Hishoku no Sora by Mami Kawada) is pretty catchy and so is the first ED (Yoake Umarekuru shōjo by Yoko Takahashi). I personally however find second ED (Aka no Seijaku by Yoko Ishida) a bit weak, not as dramatic as first one which really wraps up the anime well. The second OP (Being by KOTOKO) is adequate but nothing much to shout about it.

The OST fits the mood of the show, from foreboding tunes of incoming battle to theme of Shana herself. Admittedly this is where anime shines the most. The music fits and enchances the story quite a notch.

Rating 8


Shakugan no Shana actually takes time to develop the characters and this is what makes it different from other magical anime out there. There is only total of 1 filler episode of the rest which in my opinion a good call on director's main part to focus on story development, not moe pandering. However, I felt there is not enough backstory on villians especially Hecate esepcially her reason to be what she is in the show. She appeared in background but it is a mystery on why she is obsessed with Yuji's treasure or why she becoming what she when she appear in the anime. We all knew quite a bit about Flame Haze in 2/3 of the story but very little is known about other Denizens which called Ball Masque in the show. The first villian, Furigane also have sparse background story which makes it difficult to imagine why he is a powerful Denizen or his reason to be. Not to mention who is Bel Peol, Sydonay or the Researcher. Very little information is known about them.

I always believe that well fleshed out villian enchances the story a lot.

Some commentators accused this anime as excessive pandering of lolicon moe with Shana herself as main focus. I would have to concur with this observation but what makes this anime above average is because the story is well developed on general and main characters actually grew up as the story progresses. Thus, if viewers can look over the moe lolicons and look at the story itself, the anime actually offered a lot.

The matured ladies such as Margery and Wilhemnia have their respective role to play but I liked Margery especially as her character is very interesting to follow in my opinion. She is a flawed person which made her more compelling to watch as compared to tactiturn maid. Surprisingly, the anime devote quite a segment developing Margery which made her quite likable instead of just an irritating sidekick or villain of the week feel in the series.

I would heartily recommend this anime to casual watchers as the story is well presented, developing characters and good sound support in OST department.

Oh Dear, it's Hentai.

This is short article followed by interactive discussion on evolution of hentai from days for Ukie-yo to modern hentai genre which according to the lead article, generated 180 USD million a year. My personal experience with this shady side tend to lead to one conclusion. The art is tend to be high quality side and the school girls can beat any Gisele Bundchen or any beautiful supermodel in real life existence. (the Bible Black girls come to my mind now, there is no way they are 16-17 years old bracket) Ironically, it represents the best of mankind in terms of aesthetic beauty but it is also promoting our darkest desire.

Generally I am neutral in this area. Here is the main article which followed by interactive discussion of hentai evolution through 4 centuries of visual morphism. The interactive is very informative on this often chuckled aspect of anime. Well, in my standing, I can live with it and without it.

Legend of Galactic Heroes

Best clip I seen from this epic neglected space opera series. Yang Weng Li (the commander who used a meteor to destroy the ship in the end) for the win. The anthem of Free Planet Alliance send tears to my eyes. I dunno why. It is just so apt, fitting the best ideal of democratic republic.

This series would be what I liked to write and create if I ever be an anime story writer.

Wednesday, November 15

A scholarly discussion on Ghost in the Shell anime

Dead Inside: Reviving the Cyborg Soul in Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell

Joseph Babcock
Introduction: Cyborg Life in the Land of the Dead

Japan, 2029: neurons and silicon have been technologically integrated, and the human body is a playground for cybernetic modification. Covert agents, equipped with government-owned cyborg bodies, are immersed in multi-level international conspiracy. Many of these individuals retain only their brain stem, or a few neurons, as a mark of their humanity. Besides these trace tissues, only their “ghosts”, their transplanted human minds, distinguish them from intelligent robots. This is the world of Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell: the divide between humanity and its machines has seldom seemed so uncertain.

Shirow’s manga presents a dystopic world, a darker form of the future described by Donna Haraway in her Cyborg Manifesto. Where Haraway sees the possibility for gender and cultural boundaries to be dissolved by cybernetics, Shirow focuses on the dehumanizing aspects of cyborg technology. Similar to the pessimistic vision contemplated by media scholar Steven Shaviro in his book Connected, Shirow foresees the human body being “taken over”2 by cybernetics. In this postmodern future, the line between man and machine has become vague. However, the two are not entirely integrated, and this incomplete synthesis creates an identity crisis for Shirow’s protagonist, Section 9 agent “Major” Motoko Kusanagi. Locked within an artificial body, Kusanagi questions her humanity, feeling alienated from her physical shell. By merging with the artificial intelligence known as the Puppet Master, she achieves total unification with the machine, becoming a “true” cyborg.

The complete HTML is here.

I will comment on this one later. Still digesting what the article trying to say.

yes I am cheap. I like to reuse pictures. hahahahahaha!

Haruhi Suzumiya 2nd Season......

"Haruhi season two was originally planned for the year after next year, but the schedule was sped up and now it looks like it's confirmed for next year Fall. By the way, it looks like a Zero no Tsukaima season two is also in works for a next year Fall start as well.

PS. I'm surprised at the huge response towards the Haruhi second season rumor, even though I didn't even talk about it all that much. By the way, the source is a wire from the same person who provided me with the announcement of the new Eva movie earlier."

Direct translation from Moonphase.

A cause for rejoice? Maybe. Why I do not jump immediately? Because despite all the materials available from the novels, I don't think it will do well 2nd round since the quirky charms generated by 1st series will excite me as much anymore. You can say the magic might fizzle out and it will be amusing series but not "oh wow" type. I was worried that the 2nd series will be well made strange comedy but will be overhyped to death by legions of fans around the world.

However being pessimist I was, I was hoping for the best. It remains to be seen if Kyoto Animation can keep up their good work. I have to watch new Kanon but from I heard, it is pretty good buzz so far.

More here

Sunday, November 12

Early days of Korean animation

Korean animation has come a long way ever since, to beautiful Korean animated movie Wonderful Days back in 2005. But this clip is hilarious, I don't know where to start. Very crude and simplistic anime. However, majority of Japanese anime nowadays are animated in Korea, for example Black Lagoon.

But I cannot help but having a huge fit of laughter hearing Gundam but got VF-01 Valkyrie mecha part. I will put the video for nostalgia and humor factor.

Hirano Aya versatility as voice actress

Amazing, simply amazing. Simply versatile. (She is a voice actress for Haruhi Suzumiya)

A follow up from Foreign Ministry report

"Already, though, YouTube has become a major conduit of the popular buzz. A cartoon aired by a local TV station, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, has become a national phenomenon, thanks to more than 2,000 related clips, including parodies, now available on YouTube. "We used to say 'Did you see this and that program on TV last night?' Since YouTube came, we can talk about it with more people," says Shunichi Kojima, a marketer for a mobile handset company. "I check the site just to keep up with the conversation." It will be interesting to see how long this conversation can survive, in a country that has been hard on Internet innovators".

A quote from this very illuminating article.

Perhaps looking from this 3000 over hits on YouTube on one single title, most awesome mainstream meme "infector". The Japanese Foreign Ministry team recommended to use anime as diplomacy tool thanks to this? It can stretched a bit too far here, I have to admit but the possibility is very interesting to say at least. Google knew what they are going for when they purchased USD$ 2 billion plus company that is only about 2 years old. Sure posting it up on YouTube is illegal now, but hey it is a free propaganda for Japanese image which tattered little bit by Koizumi's visits to Yasakuni Shrine. Goebbels would love this tool.

Interesting time for interesting happenings, I suppose.