Category Archives: Aria


Akari Says This Is Not JAL's Blog!

I think invariably those of us who spend a lot of time getting acquainted with popular culture get used to the lingo, the methods, and the mechanics of mass media. Words are cheap. Pictures may be worth thousands of words but what does it me to us? We look for something that makes us feel, that stirs our passion.

The same can be said of worship (to toss the Christian-ese in). Reading about KOTOKO’s show down at Texas made me wanted to be there pretty badly. Well, that’s half of the reasons why, but the nihilistic cowgirl (for that is her costume at the show, to match her Mountie gig in Toronto) can probably go a long way to justify for me to buy whatever merchandise that may come of her two North American stints this year. I say this because I am passionate about her as a fan. And very specifically, as a fan of her shows and her live personality. It brings me a big grin, makes me jump and wave until I am very sore, and put up with long lines riddled with irritating fanboys and fangirls.

It also doesn’t help that I’m somewhat of the schoolchild of Christian Hedonism. After growing up with it (spiritually) for so many years now I realized the only true hole its teaching misses out on–it makes some presumptions that doesn’t apply to everybody. In such a way that I think a man or woman can be so twisted that he or she lives in derail with his or her emotions, it can be difficult to understand, as a stoic, the point to live passionately. Stoic love may still be love, after all. Imperfection riddles everyone’s soul, spirit and body, yet God honors all who seeks him by faith. That’s not even to mention the very possibility that some of us are born stoics. It may be why some have a hard time with living for what you are passionate about when that passion coincides with godly living; or when you live godly lives that are passionless.

Ultimately, however, worship is the act of praise and adoration. It is a response of love. It is what drives the Nielsen rating. It’s what drives people to talk about that movie at the water cooler. It’s why I go to church. It is possibly why God created the universe. In some ways that is also why people are driven to procreation. Being around a lot of toddlers and and even younger kids lately it makes me apperciate just how much more their parents love and apperciate those little people.

Yet worship is just the quiet, under-hyped half of its twin: goodness. We worship only what is, in our opinion, worthy of worship. I would like to just say that only good stuff is worthy of your attention. For many it means that they only watch “good anime.” Fair enough. For some it means we watch Aria because it is good; also fair enough. But for Aria viewers many more watches it because we know slice of life is good! Some coffee is good to the last drop and we praise them so. Even more drink coffee because it’s good to have some of that stuff in the morning.

Passionate, lively living adores goodness, expresses emotively, and it drives those who live that way to seek greater goodness. We love what we do because we’re doing what we love. It’s a blessed catch-22. It is a shadow of the heavenly realm. It is the story of Aria. Is it the story of you and me? Or him?

New Season Checklist 3

And 40 days after the flood of new anime had stopped, The Bad Guy opened a window and let loose a pair of CRV7 70mm rockets.
Black Lagoon 1

I think the winners, barring the remaining contestants, are clear.

Notice how each of those are spearheaded by a different significant production studio. Deen, for example, has their lovely Simoun flying machines complete with sound effects akin of Vader’s Custom TIE. It’s a war out there. Well, with exception of Bones and Madhouse, who also manages to hit really, really hard with Juuousei, the Lord-of-the-Flies tale of survival and becoming something more; and Black Lagoon, probably my #1 selection for the masses this season. Sucks to be Gonzo right now, though…wait a few months? This season, it seems, the studios have taken cues from 1-2 years ago and suddenly every one of them produced shows that started at around the same time, all very appealing.

And they fight like as if it’s a war–in the flea market of our minds. Some of the arsenals include kiss. Lots of kisses–girl-girl, girl-boy, boy-girl, boy-boy (well, we tried to avoid this one). Lots of blood, even more action (some involving kissing); comedy shoujo-style, comedy-no-style, no-comedy. No romance, lots of romance, mostly in-between. Low blows. Guns; lots of guns. Hot moms, lots of sisters; bunny girls? CG, fake CG, CG-looking-like-it’s-not, REALLY BAD CG. Snail-pace, non-linear storytelling, action-packed. And of course, fanservice; the shoujo/josei crowd is still at the lead of that (so much sex in Nana, so little time), of course, closely followed by the snuffy Tokko (funded by Manga Entertainment???). Can maid boys beat out magical girls from the 90s? Only if you’re a dream user…

The casualties are lost in the mindshare bloodbath, deemed to wander in the obscurity known as “faint recollections” when one browses through a list of anime at their favorite torrent site or wallpaper listing. Who the hell cares if your close friends are gargoyles or a badass tank AI?

It’s fierce, and as well it should be. That said I am not holding my breath; the second half of this year has some of the more exciting titles coming out. UFOTable’s newest project and more KyoAni in the form of Kanon are just some rememberable teasers waiting to happen.

New Season Checklist 2

Not quite yet over, but I gave in to the Cap.

Nordic != Bagpipes?

AMG TV2 knows what it’s doing. Same with Aria 2. The sequels generally score high and because they exist second-generation that’s probably indication enough. OTO…Wulong? Hack//ROOTS?

Eh. Well, the CG fest anime this season, Zegapain, scored well with me; I probably still won’t follow it, but I dig its high school romance aspect. The combat was very well-done, too. Especially if they can get it all on HD. Simoun, OTOH, was better called “Lez Exile” in its similarity to Last Exile but the whole airship/feudal warring states concept wrapped around a very strange weird girl-girl relational triangle, tied with equally impressive mishaps when the balance breaks. Pass.

The rest of the average grind mill seems barely worth mentioning, even if it has its gems in the rough. Ray had a great pilot but it’s a BlackJack spinoff, so I don’t know. Inukami is probably worth checking out if you can handle the zany UY-ness. Airgear is pretty but the manga hits the spot way better. Seeing the skating in action helps, along with the right dose of fanservice…but it’s going to tank as a matter of time.

Witchblade seems to take root between something like Guyver and Blood+, so that’s probably doing exactly what it’s trying to do (the Mamiko helped). Magipoka, for me, was the surprise hit. Loli comedy, if such a thing can be called, is usually hit or miss. Definitely superior if you’re looking for that in terms of Girl’s High, or the disappointing Disgaea animation. A more curious comedy, in the form of Ouran High School Host Club, is probably worth checking out for its Utena-esqe character constructs. It’s totally not-serious shoujo anime done with a self-parodic bent, so guys can probably enjoy it as a mockery of shoujo generical norms. Shoujo as aberration in anime continues to be a rule of thumb with Nana, too. Not a piece for Noitamina, this Nana bosts way more production value than ParaKiss, if that’s even the right piece to compare to.

I’ll probably update next with PriPri, Spider Rider, Gargole Family, and the rest of the lot. Otanoshimini~