Monthly Archives: December 2006

Write It Down

I’ve gotten many advice over the course of my life, but one good one I’d like to share with you today is in the form of a joke. If you’ve heard it, I apologize for dragging it out and butchering it.

An old couple who lives in the City are, well, old. The husband and wife get along for the most part, being married for so long. But as they age they slowly forget more and more. Lately some fights broke out between them only because one would forget something important, like taking the car in for a tune-up or picking up the other at the airport, some such things. After seeing their doctor, they were suppose to heed his advice: start writing important things down! The two of them then got some notepads and began doing it.

So the wife was going to the kitchen one afternoon and the husband asked her to make a sundae for him. “Two scoops of vanilla ice cream, some walnuts, whipped cream, and chocolate sprinkles.” “Okay, I got it.” “Are you sure? Don’t you want to write it down”? “I’ll remember,” she said. A while later the wife returns with a plate of scrambled eggs. The husband fusses up, expectedly, and said, “where’s the toast”?

Writing it down is important. I should’ve done that with the couple ideas floating in my head while farming for faction and PvP honor in WoW. Farming is humbling work–it brings some kind of mental clarity in a chaotic and disorganized setting. But you gotta write it down when the Muse beckons.

Aside from lamenting about lost ideas, though, I think it’s a powerful narrative device. There are a few anime based on lost and found memories, and some based on rediscovered manuscripts. The link between the loli-tastic Al Azif from Demonbane and a much more subtle and celestial work like Reki’s recollection from Haibane Renmei is not as tenuous as you’d think, from this perspective.

But when you write it down, and take a hard look at what is presented to you, things look differently. This is partly what has happened with Kanon. And this can happen both within and in the meta. Imagine if Yuuichi kept a journal or something? LOL. The journey we take through this half-year with Kanon, likewise, brings to life what we may merely remember so long ago.

And here I present the biggest understatement of the year.

Asatte no Houkou Accomplishes Great Feet

Signature Reimu Pose

If you’ve seen Zettai Shounen, you might be aware of the “feet.” Somehow episode 10 of Asatte no Houkou reminds me of it.

Don’t get me wrong–I actually haven’t seen much of Zettai Shounen at all aside from screen caps. I though the attention to detail to the footwear in episode 10 of Asahou, though, was above and beyond the call of duty.

I think episode 8 of Asahou was definitely the best episode of anime that I’ve seen in a long while. It compares with Black Lagoon’s introduction of Roberta, or ENOZ’s performance in Suzumiya Haruhi. (I guess it wasn’t so long of a while?) What struck me as special regarding episode 8 was that it’s very tight and it’s got that stand-alone, slice-of-life packaging to it, in contrast to the plot revealed in that episode. I think you could polish episode 8 up as a tight AMV or even as a stand-alone OAV with slight changes.

Anyways, enough clamoring for a show that’s getting the attention that it deserves. I thought Kotomi’s outfit in the second half of episode 10 was…ludicrous, to say the least. Or I’m just totally out of touch with Japanese fashion. Both might be possible.

I don’t think I have any kind of a “feet” fetish. Maybe a sock/footware thing…but I don’t think it’s any kind of fetish. The reality is that when the character designers go out of their way to make their character’s shoes fashionable, it’s hard to not notice it if you pay attention. I suppose at least this idiosyncratic trait of mine comes true in real life as well, if you ever wonder if I compliment you on your footwear.

I also suppose this is why I dig Ikkitousen and Ryomou in general.

Anyways, as much as I enjoy talking about footwear all post long, here are some pictures to do the talking instead. Honestly lately I’m kind of busy both in the mind and in the physical, so this is as good as it gets.

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Things to Consider in Making an End-of-Year List

As the year comes to an end it may be kind of a stereotypical behavior to recollect and remember the highlights of the year. I hope this can serve as a primer.

When it comes to anime we should always take that step back (if you can) and remember that anime is a vague label applied to Japanese animation–it can be odd and unavailable as Paprika; cartoony but uninteresting like Animal Yokocho (just kidding); or plain and teenager-ish like Gundam Seed Destiny. People invariably like different kinds of shows, so they’ll be able to talk about those shows they saw. Not a lot of people watches everything across the board, so these kind of “best of 2006” lists are a good way to figure out what sorts of shows they like.

But invariably, too, that there are only so many shows any one person can watch in a year. There are only so many shows the country of Japan (with help from Korea, China, and even US and Europe) can produce in a year.

This all just means one simple thing: list the shows how you like them. It’s nigh impossible to assign some kind of objective value, so if you like a sucky show, just say that you like a sucky show; if someone knocks your top favorite, no big deal–it just means they have different tastes, or don’t understand what’s so good about it.

But there are some things you can do that can make life easier. The first thing is to actually figure out what you’ve seen this year, and make sure the shows you list are actually from this year, or whatever. It’s nice to have some internal consistency so your favorite list this year isn’t just your all-time favorite list because you rewatched everything on your all-time favorite list every year, and you just go by what you’ve seen that year. You could, but that’s boring.

If you’re the kind of person that watches 2-3 series a season, you probably would have seen something like 9-12 new shows this year. If you make a top-10 list from that, it would just mean that you’ve exercised little to no selective brain muscle. On the other hand if you make a top 5 list, suddenly you are engaged in the difficult yet joyful activity of mentally debating what is worth that little bit of honor you bestow to your favorite shows.

Of course if you watch like 50 shows a year, a top 10 is definitely a little too restraining. And I’d guess restraint might not be your forte. So why stop there? We also need people to talk about the dinky shows that few others have seen yet these shows could carry some redemptive value that only you did not oversee.

If you’re like me, you probably would like to watch a bunch of different kinds of shows, for all sorts of different reasons. Spending some time to explain why you think Suzumiya Haruhi actually deserves your #1 spot is a good thing. Talk about why you like something is really what I love the most about these kinds of exercises; or, alternatively, figure out why by looking at the list and puzzling it with what you know about that person. Which is to say–if you put something like PriPri as your #1, please do NOT explain why, I’ll just step away…

Most importantly, take your time. Think back to shows that went on from last year. I’d imagine Noein and Black Cat are not shows fresh in people’s minds, for example. How many people caught Mushishi? How would we evaluate Asatte no Houkou fairly? It takes time to figure these things out.

This end-of-year season I want to encourage everyone to talk about what they love this year. I’d like to think 2006 has been a superb year for anime with a lot of landmark shows and surprises. Ups and downs rocked this little subculture several times, and it’s good to savor these moments. A boring list alone doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what has happened.

Time to Engrish Forever, Baby?

“Sorry to keep you waiting Jumbo, I brought you your prom date”? LOL. This is so dying of a Yotsuba& parody.

Got Rice?

The muse that is Black Lagoon resurrects in the form of LOL I am Chinese so I got the slanty eyes? Or is she just evil?

I’m glad the show flexed its muscle at this critical episode, 22, because so far Second Barrage is heavy. The middle 3 episodes with Mr. Benny’s Good Fortune capped a good, refreshing break, but it was also the low point in the series when it comes to production quality and direction. Mr. Chen worked in season 1, and not so much here. It’s a welcomed distraction to the drama and inter-relational conflicts.

I mean, did you really need me to tell you Revy-Ginji is a foil for Yukio-Rock? Surely not.

But the Japan arc continues into 23, which means it’ll likely to continue into the final stretch of these 24 episodes. I think that’s probably best, but not knowing the manga (and I imagine so far it’s a faithful adaptation) I’m not sure if the pacing works out. When you don’t have that bang-bang-bang pace to bring the plot forward, you use those bang-bang-bang scenes. But what happens when you can’t use either?

Is that when I point out that Omi Minami, Miki Nagasawa and Houko Kuwashima are all in the cast this season? I’m glad that Kuwashima got Yukio–lots of great dialog parts for this part-time character. Speaking of the voice acting, if you’re still hung up on the Engrish, you might want to do see your doctor and schedule for an “am I a Weeaboo” examination.

One last thing–the bird/angel allegory continues!

Pleats rocks

Lament – Motto Motto

Life got in the way, so I’m to apologize for missing out on the Animesuki karaoke shoutcast even in its entirety (it’s like 7 hours long). What’s equally worse is that I didn’t get to submit a song as various real-life things got in the way of that, too. I really should post “we demand re-airing!” or some nonsense.

But at least I can return Jal a favor by doing a request from someone else. (Did that make sense?) You hear that? I managed to record something a few days ago, but it didn’t come out well so I didn’t mix it (it sort of desynch’ed). Alas, it also means I didn’t get a chance to do so until right now, really. And even then I didn’t arse around with the entire clip. Enjoy the terror.