Monthly Archives: March 2008

Newsbot Time

First off, Otakon, being my “home” con away from home, is going to announce their musical act for the year at the Tokyo International Anime Fair, which is in 2 weeks. If you prereg now you can try to guess who it is and maybe win something.

I highly suggest you prereg and guess who it is. And go. Go. Go if you know what’s good for you. This year is going to be special.

Second item today is that a friendly dude from M80, an online marketing firm, asked me to plug some contest TP is running. Isn’t it nice to be able to have a job that lets you contact friendly bloggers and talk about cool anime stuff, partly to make it seem less like spam but also because, well, it’s cool anime stuff? Anyways, it’s not like my current job sucks, but it’s not what I want to do for a living. I guess doing viral/grassroot marketing has its own challenges as well. Only if marketing was this friendly. Hey, they are hiring.

The third item is about this lol contest. I like the idea (even if it seems like a lame attempt at farming links), and while it’s potentially a whirlpool of drama, it sounds fun. I tossed in some random nomination that people should take a look at, and that’s that. I hope this takes off in the right way because it can be a lot of fun.

The fourth item should be a whole blog post, but I want to ask the question and get it out there. Bandai Visual, via their BOSS Note blog (…you know, I just “got” the joke to that blog’s name), announced they’re delaying their releases to change the way they’re dealing with their stuffs…are going to be. Furthermore BOSS man himself is “promoted” to an international position back in Japan that probably gives him even more power to shape how BV USA does its work in the US.

The question I have is really focused on this paragraph, and I quote:

Anyway, Bandai Visual (Japan) and Bandai Visual USA are now rushing to reschedule all future releases, focusing on Blu-Ray. Due to the recent quiet market, we will postpone standard single DVDs for TV series. We are assuming that the market does not prefer that format.

Now, the entire post mostly talk about the switch to BRD. And shows like True Tears would rock on Hi-Def But does that paragraph talk more about “standard single DVDs” rather than just “DVDs”? To me it reads that they’re going to do standard single BRDs and DVD sets. That’s what would sell, for sure.

How does it read to you?

Great Feat of Strength (and Dexterity)

Yeah, yeah, you guys are probably sick of people blogging about True Tears. I wouldn’t know because I’ve been taking a minor break from reading blogs (if one can do such a thing) and writing blogs. I do understand that it’s a show that offers some persuasion to both mind and emotion to express just how… moe? it is.

Thankfully I don’t have a weakness against the backside of girls’ knees (or am I confusing it for Aria?). I think. And I’ve long since gotten my meganekko thing under control. I’m pretty good against porn generally. Most other forms of fanservice have the reverse effect on me (save when it’s well-done).

Am I the only one who wanted to have at Jibeta’s feet? I bet it tastes good.

Hm, I thought I already wanted some imagawayaki.

Hiromi’s feet is a wholly different matter. It’s really an inadvertent use of fanservice that turned into awesome.

And here’s why it’s awesome. So awesome that I’m going to spend many hundred words to talk about it.

Continue reading

How to Be Makoto Shinkai

The Quest For 5cm/35mm

I have reached a major turning point in the quest to pursuit it as a fan and to promote it as a fan, so I figured I should share what has happened, and what will continue to happen.

A time long ago, in a galaxy not-so-far away…

There were some blogs and news sites that reported the unveiling of Makoto Shinkai’s latest work, strangely titled “5 Centimeter per Second – A Chain of Short Stories about Their Distance.” What was really remarkable was that a 720p trailer was released to annotate this major news item (at least, for people who cared for avant-garde Japanese animation).

The summer of 2006 was a time of uncertainty. The Hi-Def format war was just underway and the waves of heavy blows had only begun to clash between the two camps. Seeing a Hi-Def trailer for an anime film, straight from the Japanese Horse’s mouth, was an oddity, even if it was norm for big-budget productions. It’s not a secret (at least to me) that a fair number of TV anime was already being produced with HD in mind, and even some are aired as such. But the media tycoons here, let alone the more fiscally conservative Japan, was not too keen on jumping on the bandwagon, even if Blu-Ray has pretty much gotten Japan locked down from the get go.

The strange title and the fragmented telling of 5cm was already pretty much a “huh” since it was hard to say what it was about, besides that we can see it may very well be another film long-distance relationship. It was surprisingly sci-fi free, but with that rocket we can’t tell for sure. Not everyone then picked up that it’s a three-parter. Just about no one knew the last part was suppose to be a “cap” and a music video. The winter 2006 trailer didn’t really help either.

(The Star Wars nod is not too far off, as I thought back to what happened.)

As fandom and fans approached the winter of 2006, babble about 5cm has generally quieted down. Stuff like Paprika and Tokikake was in the mind of the anime film buffs. The steadfast Shinkai fans preordered the limited edition R2 DVD box sets, as it would come with Tenmon’s soundtrack (and so far, no way else). The fortunate Shinkai fans waited to see it in theaters in spring of ’07. I was neither.

(Come to think of it, 2006 was one hell of a year for anime if we added these two works to 2006’s umbrella of fandom-rocking productions.)

I did get to read about the film, and at least watch a nice sub of it later in 2007. I was so pumped about that fansubbed Episode 1 (Oukashou) that I made everyone I knew watch it at Otakon 2007, where they promised a screening with their 35mm programming track. Not only was its reception mixed among my friends (as it was decidedly depressing for some and outright outrageous for few; as many liked it however), they screened a DVD with crappy resized option selected. It looked horrid. Prodding the Otakon forums after the fact did little good besides that ADV has dropped the ball (in an usual manner of how industry reps drop balls at cons, I guess).

And showing it in such horrid way is the greatest injustice you can do to one of the prettiest film I’ve seen. Having been promised a 35mm run by ADV, it was a kick in the balls. Hearing it being licensed was great news as it was announced around 2007 con season. I was so looking forward to it too.

That summer marked the start of a small chase for me to catch 5cm in a proper 35mm showing. I know ADV did stuff in Texas with all their theatrical releases, but it was a little too hard to justify traveling down there just for that. Plus, I had no idea where to start looking for information tied to their local showing. All in all, I only managed to catch two other “screenings” of 5cm since, so I guess I wasn’t really that hardcore at all.

A whopping year later we’ve finally seen this work in its original 35mm beauty. The NYCIFF screened it twice in three weeks; I caught the last showing today.

It’s been a long year since the seeds of anticipation bore fruit. Even compared to a nice, high quality rip of the original DVD, seeing it on 35mm was a notably more powerful experience. Details between light and darkness jumped to life; deep ocean blues and the pitch-dark, starry sky gave a particular depth that made Episode 2, Cosmonaut, a glittery magic that probably will escape most people’s displays (unless your display can show some very awesomely deep black levels, anyways).

This was probably my fourth real “experience” with this film. Not counting the time when I watched it piece-wise or doing it at home, anyways. At today’s showing there were a couple hiccups which interrupted the screening (thankfully nothing really major), and we had to take a 5-minute break between episodes 2 and 3. I realized this actually significantly changed the way we viewed the ending because the awesome kid-friendly atmosphere of a typical NYCIFF showing really cuts into suspension of mood. I sort of took pity to this one mom who was reading the subs to her child as her child wasn’t old enough to read that fast.

A bit of funny: as usual NYCIFF major features always demo a short before the actual feature. For today’s showing there was this stopmation Russian fairytale. It’s only fitting that 5cm is also licensed in Russia, I guess.

What’s next? I’ve done chasing this film, so odds are I can happily pluck down some money for the Hi-Def version of the film (along with Beyond the Clouds) later this year. Hopefully we can see R1 licensees release them with translation soon after.

Mitsuishi Kotonoooooooooooo!

Animazement strikes again as the most common anime con destination in North America for older voice actors.

Seriously, what is going on?

It’s one of those conventions that I wish I can just ignore. But on Memorial Day weekend this year, it seems to mean I might have to go down there to North Carolina and kick some ex-blogger in the butt and find some curry to eat, or something.

And it’s not to downplay the other guests they have lined up, like Kumiko Watanabe. And Trunks.

I hope I don’t have to explain to you who Mitsuishi Kotono is. But much like some of the previous Animazement guests, she hasn’t really had a big day under the spotlight, in terms of the more developed seiyuu-idol community. She’s pretty much just a once-popular voice actress that somehow still commands legion of fans who’s been doing this for a while.

Legions, I tell you.