Saturday, December 6

Lucky Star manga and stupidity

As much as I hate the series, this is really dumb and wasteful act in my opinion. Burning it won't make it go away, stupid.

This is what I think:

Kannagi Manga is on Hiatus, Eri Takanashi is sick?

In summary, the mangaka is taking a break until indefinite date citing illness. Sounds like she is retreating after being so harshly criticized by Kannagi "fans" for chapter 36 on "second hand" issue to me. Poor thing. I hope she will recover soon.

Also reported in ANN

The issue in nutshell

Das Kapital in manga format

One of the most famous book in modern history, Karl Marx and Frederich Engels "Das Kapital" will be published in manga format soon in Japan. I can't imagine this manga will be popular with international manga fans but as noted in this article, the manga was published amidst the troubled economy in capitalist nations around the world now.

I wonder the significance though.

Japan used to be home of a notorious socialist extremist terrorist group known as Japanese Red Army / 日本赤軍 which terrorize the world around 70s and early 80s (mainly for Palestinian cause)so there is a strong undercurrent of socialist ideology history in Japan which not widely known now. One of the members were featured in Black Lagoon as antagonist leader.

It also explains why there is a viable market for this manga in question.

Times Online
Japanese Red Army history

WiiWare Manga

Well a new service for Wii owners in Japan and it will be available only to Japanese in beginning stage. Soon, it will creep overseas judging on how popular the Wii is.

I wonder if you have to nunchuck to turn the pages.

Original Artcle

Another rant from Miyazaki

Nostalgia is one of the moods frequently associated with the works of anime director Hayao Miyazaki, but in a lengthy press conference late last month in Tokyo, he showed complex feelings on the subject, sometimes criticizing nostalgia and sometimes appearing to indulge in it.

Miyazaki is the director of animated masterworks such as Kaze no Tani no Naushika (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, 1984), Tenku no Shiro Laputa (Castle in the Sky, 1986), Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro, 1988), Kurenai no Buta (Porco Rosso, 1992) and Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away, 2001).

Some of his films are set in the near or distant past, while others are set in storybook-style fantasy worlds filled with cozy, antique trappings. So it is natural that the topic of nostalgia would come up when the director agreed to take questions at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

Miyazaki said he has pondered "which period [of Japan's history] was find out where we should have stopped. And I realized it was not possible to stop. For example, there are people who feel nostalgia about the 30s of the Showa era."

The Showa era (1926-1989) took in most of the 20th century, but the Showa 30s (1955-1964) have become cherished in popular culture as the end of the postwar era, when Tokyo Tower and the first Shinkansen were built, the nation hosted its first Olympics, and hard-working families strove to obtain the "three sacred treasures" of a television, refrigerator and washing machine.

Miyazaki, 67, remembers the time firsthand. "People have the delusion that things were good in those days. But actually, the fact was that it was a very unhappy period," he said.

"There was much frustration at that time, and there was a violent impact that people created on the nature of Japan, such as in the seas and in the rivers and in our mountains. Much rubbish was piled upon the environment by us...I recall in my boyhood, friends around me who were not able to attend school or eat properly," he recalled.

He went on: "And if people think that the Edo period [1603-1868] was a good period, there were many unfortunate things about that period as well, except that people were able to give up and bear things, but we have forgotten how to do that."

Miyazaki said he has come to realize that "paradise is memories of our infanthood. In those days we were protected by our parents and we were innocently unaware of the many problems around us."

Seeing modern children immersing themselves in a "virtual world" of manga, anime, video games, television and cell phones, the director seemed to long for the infancy of society itself--the Stone Age.

"In our country, a sense of balance seems to have crumbled down so that there is no place where we can take care of sheep or cattle or run around barefoot. Rather, we are surrounded by a virtual environment," he said.

"I think there are things that children have to learn before they learn to read and write. And these are the things which people during the Stone Age were able to do. In other words, to create fire and to be able to maintain that fire or to extinguish that fire, and also to understand the nature of water and to climb up trees and be able to use ropes and be able to use a knife," Miyazaki said.

He said that the government should take responsibility for teaching children such skills, adding: "Rather than have the government do this, this is something which parents and local communities should be doing. However, in pursuit of economic growth, what Japan has done is to destroy such local communities. So this is something which we must regain."

Yet at another point in the press conference, he said: "We should not just think about...the ridiculous things that the government says, but rather we should liberate our children from nationalism."

When he was asked to expand on his comment about nationalism, Miyazaki said: "The problems of the world come from the fact that nationalism feels that the world's problems are due to multiethnicity. So at least in my case, I will not create films in which when there are people who destroy evil, peace comes about.

"In other words, I feel that when making films it is necessary to be aware of the fact that all problems that exist, exist inherently within yourself, within your society and among your family members.

"In regard to the town we love or the country that we love, there is the possibility that they may turn into something which is not good for the world as a whole. This is something which we learned from the past war, and this is a lesson which we should not forget," he said.

Part of the international goodwill Japan currently enjoys comes not from military strength but from the worldwide popularity of Japanese anime, manga and video games, especially among young people. The phenomenon is known as "soft power."

Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli is a major source of such power. But when he was asked to comment on the topic, the director waxed enigmatic: "In our studio, we often talk about it, and although steamboats have disappeared from the seas, there are still vessels that are powered by diesel and turbine engines. But what we talk about is the fact that even in such an environment, one sailboat can be allowed to exist."

At the moment, the nation's most prominent manga and anime fan is Prime Minister Taro Aso. On that topic, Miyazaki was less enigmatic: "It's embarrassing."

"That is something that he [Aso] should do in his private time," he added.

Miyazaki said he did not envy the prime minister's job, especially when it comes to environmental problems, about which the director feels alternately optimistic and pessimistic.

"The thing I would not want to become the most is the prime minister of Japan," he said. "It's truly an unrewarding job because you cannot tell the truth to people who do not want to hear the truth. So I believe that people will not learn until things become tremendously horrible.

"This country consumes more than it produces. What our country can produce is only able to support the lives of 32 million people...That structure whereby we do not have food self-sufficiency, or the fact that the underwear we wear is made in China, is at the core of the uncertainty of our nation."

Miyazaki said dramatic changes in economic structures would be impossible, but that gradual change was necessary. Slipping into pessimistic mode, he said, "But if we go slowly and take time to make those changes, then I am not confident that we will make it safely to be able to stave off the end of civilization."
(Dec. 5, 2008)

The article

Another sign of his increasingly schizophrenic stance towards something he is famous for and himself. I have to confess this, it is confusing.

But Ponyo rocks.

Seiyu /Voice Actress Award vote now opened internationally

A sign of increasing globalization of anime, the award now opens to foreign voters for their favourite voice actress/actor award in Japanese anime industry. Cited from their site:

The Seiyu Awards was established as an annual award to honor voice actors and actress for their achievements in memorable voice acting performances and creative works. The Tokyo Anime Center, in cooperation with the Japan Audio Producer’s Association and representatives from the animation industry, aims to contribute to increasing the status of voice actors and actress by providing the largest scale award show in the industry.

The official site

So any of you feel strongly about the voice acting, go to the site and vote. I haven't make up my mind yet on who yet, personally.