Monthly Archives: June 2007

Kamichu Is Really Good

Working on my “short” list of things to watch when I have the time, as recommended by others and reaffirmed by my own investigation and feelings, I’m nearly done with this ZOMG HOW CAN IT BE show. Yea, Kamichu, the high-production-value slice-of-life series from 2 summers ago.

If you read reviews like how this guy writes it, then this sort of show will probably get labeled as some kind of “little gem,” “nice find” or something flattering but not really deserving your full attention. And case in point; he hasn’t even “found out” about this show yet.

And it bothers me–not that he hasn’t, but so few people did generally. And it isn’t really off to say that Kamichu is a “little gem” or what have you. To translate it into specific, non-layman,  critic-language, the overall enjoyment value (as Star Crossed seems to do reviews around that perspective) of Kamichu is actually relatively low for the mainstream viewer. It is by no means a page turner; it is very much a show aimed at an older crowd who knows a thing or two about politics, history, and their heritage (as Japanese…and maybe other cultures too). The fact that it’s about a bunch of 8th graders in Hiroshima back in the 1980s isn’t going to hit home for most people.

But to call it a gem is injustice. It’s not even a “diamond in the rough” but just plain-o diamond. It is episodic–so automatically that’ll turn away probably half of the western anime fans who feed on serial discourse and plot-driven stories. It’s masterful. It’s cute. It’s just oozing with goodness (albeit also often mixed with some sort of awkward pitch at…some kind of nasty subcultural segment–lolicons, sisucons, even hardcore Japanese right-wingers?). It wins awards.

Strangely enough I remained unconvinced of all the things I just said, in a way, at least until last week. Well, if you asked me back in 2006 if Kamichu was any good, I wouldn’t hesitant to say yes. But it wasn’t compelling for me; I had seen just the first half of the series at the time and while I can recognize that Kamichu is that rare little gem, it isn’t anything that special to me. Heck, it’s a 2005 series that I had seen only half of by 2007. I didn’t feel the magic.

But after watching the episode about Miko and Shoukichi I was floored. If Asatte no Houko episode 8 did anything for you, then you’ll see that this episode of Kamichu is a reprise (well, Kamichu came first), but with sugar on top. They managed to express as much in your usual 22 minutes of late-night TV as a typical arthouse OAV could.

And perhaps “arthouse” is the right qualifier for Kamichu. It hasn’t transcended below the ceiling of common, everyday sensibilities in the way how Azumanga Daioh (or better yet, Yotsuba&) was able to translate its strange worldview in a way we all understand. It paints a picture of adolescence that is wrapped and coated by its slice-of-life tension (ie. not much) and all that ZOMG-She-Is-God nonsense that is a little bit “out there” to say the least. But for those of us who can see beyond that, Kamichu is a masterful reprise of a childhood to remember and the fun people had growing up. It’s just too bad most people are hung up with the details, like myself, to go far enough and see Kamichu for what it is. But hey, I eventually got past it. Thanks a lot to those people who did see it and push it like the mad good anime that it is!

It easily is one of the best anime anyone can buy right now in the US I think. If you call yourself a slice-of-life fan, well, add this to your “very short list” already!

Korea Is So. Far. Away.

Old news alert. Ragnarok Online 2 Concert.

Yoko Kanno

You can get the full scoop here, but damn. Omo demands video bootlegs of this thing.

What gets me isn’t just Yoko Kanno. I’m a fanboy, sure, but look at the guest musicians going to Korea to play with her:

Origa, Mai Yamane, Maaya Sakamoto… Well, I hope these names are self-explanatory. Especially that last one. The concert is not going to cover just Kanno’s RO2’s stuff, but some of her newer works like GITS as well as her Bebop live things. I suppose Origa does have live experience already. Damn.

That’s not all: Tsuneo Imahori is going to be on the guitar. I’m not a big fan of Imahori, and it’s not his first time playing with Kanno, but he has a nice pile of his own compositions on my computer (Trigun, Gungrave), plus his own guitar playing. The same probably can be said of Shinozaki Masatsugu (Jin-Roh). They’re both, of course, former Seatbelts.

There’s a teaser video on youtube from the scoop link up top.

When I first heard this news in May I thought to myself “blah HATE RO and Korea is so. far. away.” But I should’ve known better that Kanno’s shows are FER REAL and not silly little gags you see at an anime con. And she does put on a show that’s worth flying to, if you love her music. But those who travels to Korea would know, summer flights from the US are high in demand and very expensive.

Well, gg Korea. I’ll QQ later.

Phisicalqantity Alternation Natural Deconstruction Organized Research ARRRRGGGUUUUHHHH

Killing me softly with crappy Engrish, yep.

What’s in a name? A whole lot, if you are keeping tabs on the gay marriage debate going on in the United States. But Darker than Black’s wrangling of PANDORA is just plain gay.

The past semester at school I worked with a client who is an aspiring writer. She came up with all kinds of neat words that are mnemonics for phrases–all of them actually made a lot of sense if you read them in full. Well, no duh, she has to make sales pitches to potential investors and publishers (and lawyers) who will work with her and believe in the causes she is working for. And give her money. And she lives in an English-speaking society necessarily requires that, well, you can’t use Engrish if you are serious about being a writer.


The thing is, is it really that hard to come up with a good … thing for PANDORA? What in the world is “Phisicalquantity”? Why must you do this, Japan? There’s NO EXCUSES if like, half of your industry revenue comes from abroad. Especially with a title like this.


I mean, I would have been fine if no one ever explains to me what the hell PANDORA stood for. I would have been just fine if I didn’t know what HiME stood for (although that actually made some sense), but the Engrish was a good LOL for a show that isn’t to be taken seriously. Maybe we shouldn’t take DTB seriously?

And you would think after decades of anime watching I would care less about this crap. But alas.

Minoru Shiraishi Makes Me Proud

…to be a fanboy.

Because, after all, that’s how we get our grooves on. There’s no reason to adhere some preconceived notion of protocol and trivia. Granted it can be tiresome and bad for our bottom lines, spending our time and attention on trivia and coining words and phrases on the border of meme and fad, walking that preciptious edge a step away from the bottomless abyss of intarweb lunacy.

“Rise up,” Shiraishi said. And I think we will respond.

It’s no surprise that Shiraishi talks about this so-called “tsundere.” Lucky Star pays attention to that sort of thing, and within the bounds of its suspended reality we have at least one. No surprise there, Kagami?

But a rousing speech from this semi-important gag character is the least you’d expect. Albeit it is still a bit of a genre trope… a celebration of geek independence. We speak our own language, breath our own culture, and produce our own information products.

Don’t let the elitist know-it-all get you down! Rise up, cling to your own sense of justice, but also reason grounded in common-sense! Talk about tsundere!

Simoun Fans: AX 2007’s Got Your OP and ED

...Straight from her homepage

It’s not new news, but Chiaki Ishikawa and Savage Genius are both having appearences at AX. Probably together.

Together with the Hare Hare Yukai team and Momoi, that’s like… 1/5 of Animelo or something. Maybe that skinny thing will make up the other 4/5…or something.

As much as AX is criticized as more an industry affair and not as fan-pandering compared to other cons, I think that’s only true if you do fandom differently than I do fandom. For crying out loud, this year’s AX has finally surpassed my threshold of “lol I don’t really care” with their high-power, high-profile guest list…and their damned musical performances. I’m just glad no one on my “must see” list has made it there, since I just don’t have the time and money for this business.

Anyways, Ishikawa is the neglected half of See-Saw, but I think she brings a lot to the table and makes good complement to Kajiura’s sounds. I like her solo works a lot too. Splooge on her website here. Too bad “uninstall” is still a corny word.