Monthly Archives: October 2007

Caught Up In a Whirlwind of Massive Strings or Tenmon Is Love

I don’t get why some people think ef anime episode 2 “ending” doesn’t work–to me it works very well.

She shoots, she scores!

If not too well.

I ended up going to the official website and rip the music on there. Digging into the flash file on the HP, you can find two mp3s of juicy Tenmon goodness. And as you would expect I’ve been listening to them repeatedly. The theme song on the website is different than the episode 2 version, so you should switch it up!

The sad part is that this will have to tide me over until February of 2008, as that’s when the OST is slated to street. :(

Thankfully we have a little more to work with; the theme song single is out next week, along with the CD singles of the first few endings. The ef anime will have different ending songs every episode, a bit like School Days. But it looks like each ED will get a single, instead of one CD with a bunch of the ending themes on them.

The OP single will have just one song on it–the English version, the Japanese version, the TV edit, and the instrumental (WANT NOW).

It’s always to see enjoyable composers get their deserving spotlight. If you’re weak against this kind of pop music like I am then this season is full of treats, with people like Elements Garden also doing some nice pieces… In the case of ef, think of Kumo no Mukou or Byousouku 5cm, and multiply it by a few factors of awesome as Tenmon is composing for a TV show–better budget and simply, hopefully, more scores and more diverse pieces.

Need. New. Pants.

Last but not least: Remember Eminence? Here’s a recording of their rendition of Beyond the Clouds, from the Tenmon soundtrack of the same at their Melbourne show this year.

Mikan Straight, or Really まっすぐ Go!!

While it’s not uncommon for TV anime to release a straight-to-video bonus episode or two, few has done it so tightly knit with the TV airing as Manabi Straight.

Having seen it almost half a year later, it also reminded me how much I miss this motley crew.

And Momo.

And UFOTable’s weird quirks.


Talking with a few people about this OAV reminds me how the saccharine-laced ending may be too much for some, and the bittersweetness does not hit the spot of ultimate satisfaction.

This is a Chinese regional special

Still, bitterness and hardship are flavors of life that we all taste as we grow older. It brings character to a story, and gives the characters traction with the viewers’ minds.

For a bonus episode, this is heavy stuff. I guess that’s how Manabi Straight find its audience.


Celebrating the end of summer…a couple weeks late. Noticed the full moon?

Cute Microbes Looking for Warm Fansubbing Home

To be honest the real reason I’m blogging is because I can’t have such an inviting picture of Mao Mizusawa on my website, for so long. It’s not exactly safe for work, and it’s actually a distraction… I guess I’m just weak against her.

Moyashimon needs more marketing. Or less, because its author won awards, it’s been out for a couple years as an appropriately odd but appealing manga series for an older crowd, and it’s on Noitamina. Noitamina has an incredible track record with me and I don’t see why I won’t like the story about educating the public about microorganisms that have been coexisting with mankind for thousands of years.

As well as, well, odd culinary preferences. It’s not lutefisk but more like surstromming? Anyways. This show reaches enough technological complexity that it needs subs to explain which microbe lives in which food and what it means when you get a saggy brown blob floating in the air instead of a youthful brown blob floating in the air.

And those microbes are cute looking. One thing that struck me immediately was that in the context of agriculture, we are to embrace our germ-like overlords. I know in America people are much more likely to be germophobic and this is a very healthy counter-message to that effect. Maybe the world in general needs to just learn more about these things so it spends less money buying useless crap that kills germs unnecessarily so. It’s nice to put a happy face on those friendly microbes because they are some of man’s best friends.

And if you haven’t heard from anyone yet, please check out the OP/ED. They are fantastic, odd (along the lines of Honey & Clover OP), and just wow.

I Watch Cartoon Porn for the Porn – Autumn 2007

Mao Mizusawa

I don’t know about you but I am shallow. Like a duck. Like algebra. Like sunshine raining down…on uncovered SKIN THAT IS! But I don’t go so far as anime fandom, on the whole, goes. Character is a literary term as well as the thing it refers to. I like my PVC figures reasonably proportioned and appropriately clothed, thank you very much. But I figured a tack to do a listing of this season’s best should take form by who, and not what anime, is worth watching for.

Mao MizusawaKimi Kiss Pure Rouge – It’s no surprise that a trip to your local doujin/fanart depository should give quite a few hits of her. Kimi Kiss, itself, was somewhat popular a couple years back. Mao is no Saber but she has her fair share of admirers. I’m not sure what, maybe it’s a mix of that cuteness and a subtle maturity which hits off well for her? Is it the braided twin-tails? If I were to compare, she would be a lot like Tama-nee from To-Heart 2, but Mao is not as…sinister. In the anime she’s pitched as a returning osananajimi who came back transformed drastically, and I guess that explains a lot. Kimikiss is a character-driven romance story with drama-plot elements, so we’ll see more development for Mao down the road.

Liumei Wong (Wang Liumi) – Gundam 00 – I know someone whose name is 1 character off hers. But there is no one I know with a body like hers. And it’s not just that; her dress is two-thirds of what’s killer about this complete package of Chinese hotness. It’s very well designed from top to bottom. The prints are Kero-chan-Check worthy, so are those flower-pedal buttons that comes off not as old fashion but appropriately modern. OK I got to stop making these puns now. Oh, and of course the unforgettable low cut down her back. It’s not a big surprise that there’s a figure of this fine figure, already in production. Unfortunately we’ve only had a couple glimpses of Wang and I don’t think we’ll see her too much until her time is ripe for some Gundam action. I’d put money down that soon enough we’ll see her in the pilot seat of something.

Mayu TsukimuraGoushuushosama Ninomiyakun – Apron Dress FTW. It’s not a pinafore, it’s not an apron, it’s a dress. But it works just the same… We don’t know much about this earnestly innocent succubus besides that what she thinks as appropriate maiden-like behavior is a major turn-on for…high school boys. I suppose that’s excusable because some high school boys are turned on with even less. Or more. Hormones and all. But being an anime Goushuushosama Ninomiya-kun distinctively relies on genre tropes to show the absurdity of our Mayu-chan in a new world of male lust. Oh, being a light novel adaptation I don’t think we’ll see much in terms of fanart right now. But soon enough at this rate…

Michiko Kouzuki – Blue Drop ~ Tenshitachi no Gikyoku – She’s the “Good Girl” archetype for the season. The bar is set high, as well–she may be timid but she is very single minded with accomplishing what she has to do. Actually she (and how Blue Drop portraits her) is one of the best thing about the show itself–like how she sprints down the lawn of the school, or blurt out her feelings for Hagino. Plus, wow, Yukino Satsuki is just awesome. The short ponytail also works wonder here, even if generally she’s a plain meganekko kind of a build.

Kureha Akabane – Night Wizard the Animation – She’s the warm, childhood friend of the protagonists’ potential love interest that welcomed the protagonist to her first day of school. Dressed in miko outfit (with…a pair of Sketchers? PWN) all day, at school, at home, at work–she’s pretty much the quintessential happy nun archetype. And it shows in battle too–capable but unable to do what the main characters do. Nonetheless her charming personality and Night Wizard’s mix of classic Shintoism in modern Akiba sci-tech warfare of fantasy make Kureha stands out above the crowd.

Tomoyo SakagamiCLANNAD – The quiet, Mai Kawasumi type… Well there’s a lot said already everywhere about CLANNAD, so I’ll get to the point. Our Tomoyo is a little bit of a mean bitch, which supposedly suits Houko Kuwashima’s acting but the cool and violent mix has always been her bag anyways. What’s key is sort of ironic–CLANNAD the anime will pay CLANNAD fans plenty of Tomoyo service but we won’t see her story unfold fully (I guess). But the full story for Tomoyo Sakagami contained in CLANNAD game finishes in Tomoyo After, as you may have heard. And that would be the thing to watch for. If CLANNAD anime does well, who knows?

Yuuri KitajimaDragonaut ~ the Resonance – Sometimes it’s good to admit to being somewhat infantile. The first new anime girl of the season goes naked for you, and you put her name on your blog? That’s like a cliché harem plot device. In this case, Dragonaut has a lot to offer along that line, even if it comes in the shell of a cold and ends-driven mad scientist. A Gonzo original, you can’t really expect a whole lot out of Professor Kitajima, but conservative estimates suggest Kitajima has a whole lot already. Any more it would be obscene and gravity defying.


Amu Hinamori – Shugo Chara – A stereotypical Pre-Cure era magical girl, Peach Pit lays it thick on her (and her sister) their brand of fashion. Hit or miss it’s up to you, but this massive tsunderella would probably be the only draw to a modern magical girl show. On the flip side, modern magical girls don’t hit home runs if they fall out of their lolicon-drawing market segment as Amu squarely is not.

Tieria Erde – Gundam 00 – Tieria is a male character, but the character design of Gundam 00, Yun Kouga, hits a home run, IMO, to bring that Saint Seiya style of modern bishounen-ism back in display. Sure, your typical military fanboy probably can’t stand how Tieria carries a purse or looks just like a girl half the time, but he’s got some fine hair. Actually, the same can be said of Gundam 00’s prophetic captain Big Hair, Sumeragi Ri Noriega. She’s not quite a whole paragraph even with the drinking in just one episode, but she’s another one to look out for in this coming season.

Adilicia Ren Mathers – Rental Magica – Take what you love about characters like Alicia Florence or Layla Hamilton, and install a more evil but tease-happy personality with a giant magical fish, and you get a bit of what Adilicia is like in Rental Magica. As of one episode we don’t know what’s going on with her, besides those hair drills and her mature and domineering presence. I personally dig Mikako Takahashi’s take on this tsundere-ish character. Similarly, Kana Ueda pulls her half-kansai Mikan voice for Rental Magica’s Honami Takase Ambler, a Japanese person who practices Irish witchcraft…? But that seifuku + broom combo is pretty delicious. Honami is not as eye catching, but she has that older sister charm which complements Adilicia well.

Toa – Dragonaut ~ the Resonance – Anemone, meet Eureka. Oh, add boobs. And Minorin.

Mizuki Hibara – Mokke – When you’re a little, energetic child living in the countryside, there’s a lot to do outdoors. It’s kind of sad to see that the premise of Mokke is the repeat victimization of this innocent person. Nana Mizuki plays the youthful Mizuki, who probably will spend a lot of time cheering Shizuru Hibara, Mizuki’s older sister, for saving her again and again. And to remind her life isn’t all that bad being poorvictimized by funky Japanese monsters.

That’s it for now. There are probably a few that I am missing out on, but this is hard work…

The Story of Redemptive Violence, or Gundam Will Continue Forever

Make Love, not War?

Redemptive violence is the bigger, badder, more brainy term to describe violence justified. This ranges from executions to “eye-for-an-eye” to even a war to end all wars and even using violence to protect someone and catch criminals. Gundam 00 throws a nice, juicy fat herring from the get go, tying terms like “dunamis” and “kyrios” (Greek for Holy Spirit and Trinity) with “oh noes I’m a kid fighting a terrible war excused by religious reasons and there’s no god poo hoo”?

Sigh, I feel like an 8th grade kid trying to explain to random internet people the point behind faith and love.

And thankfully, most Gundam shows do make a point to talk about faith and love (or maybe just hope and love?). Because it’s only in these incredibly human, idealized feelings like faith and love that we can even stand, point and laugh at the folly of war, of greed, and the tragedy of looking at people not as people. (And also, I’m sure, that the producers feel the moral burden upon them, with all those 8th grade kids watching their shows.)

Most Gundam shows also do make a point about Gundam as some kind of idol, too. The whole “I want more power/to be stronger” nonsense goes hand in hand with the “there’s someone I want to protect” nonsense or the “this world sucks” nonsense. In fact this probably explains why a lot of anime have crappy endings, not limited to just Gundam shows.

Still, I think unlike a lot of other stories told in popular media, Gundam tells a much more elaborate, and philosophically complex stories about redemptive violence (and, even showing the myth of it as well) by actually telling you these things up front, instead of using characterization and theme to explain things to you. For better or worse, this gets the message across faster and clearer usually.

That said, it’s probably unfair to pin so much of Gundam into the pigeonhole that is redemptive violence. A lot of other people have said their piece about Gundam’s stories, their motivations, and the intent behind them. And indeed, Gundam means a lot of different things to everybody. And it doesn’t help that the franchise has gotten to a point, that each series keeps on repackaging the same story, myth, legend, troupe, and theme that I am never so sure what it was saying at the end.

Maybe that is why to date Turn-A has been my favorite Gundam series in how it walks that tight rope between redemptive violence and redemption itself, that war is never the answer to anything besides “how do we kill a lot of stuff real fast and make a lot of trouble for everybody.” That the feeling to protect someone is only going to make the person you protect into a bitter, old maid as the other lover of the person you died protecting ditches her because your death made things complicated. That by loving your enemy’s hairdo as your own is the first plank to build a bridge for reconciliation and peace. Or cross-dressing. I’m not sure which works better.

I hope 00 makes a similar effort to tackle the core moral dilemma instead of pandering to mere drama. That’s what makes the Gundam franchise more than just a nice boat (even if the roots are rather nice boat-ish). As the myth of redemptive violence perpetrates today’s society in its core, the ongoing saga of the Gundam franchise will continue and draw a lot of attention for being the marketplace and battleground of ideas between pacifism and the school of redemptive violence. Maybe eventually it’ll surprise me with a valid answer?

Or at least get all their fancy-pants Greek Gundam names to match. What’s Exia? Exegesis? I mean that’d be the poetically fitting reference.