Stuff as of 11/7/10

July 11, 2010

I received a samsung home theatre package in the mail the other day by redemption and have been fairly excited about it. Even though I plan to sell it on ebay I will be using that money to subsidise a proper 2 channel system. Though I am not 100% sure on what I want to buy, since I want something that can do a variety of tasks but focusing on music rather than home theatre effects since I would like to use it for listening to CDs and music. Need to take a few photos before posting it up, but I have never sold anything on ebay so it shall be an interesting experience.

I have been training people for the past 2 weeks at work now, to prepare replacements for myself when I change departments. I am getting a bit tired of it since I have trained pretty much all the staff in the current team and I just want to move on to more exciting things. There will be 1 more person I need to train and then after that it will be done. I will be free to spread my wings so to speak and get out of doing onsite tech calls and into the fabulous world of networking. Or at least a world where I can enjoy the possibility of career progression.

New anime season started a week ago! My favourite so far is “Ookami san no shichinin nakamatachi”, since the female lead looks like an older Taiga. Quite clever sometimes in the way they link fables and fairytales into an anime storyline. Amagami SS is interesting but I have yet to decide if it is awesome yet, definitely something I will watch but people have been saying it is the next “True Tears” which I will reserve judgement on. The shows I am following have relatively slow subbers so I am slightly frustrated and behind on them, especially “Kaichou wa maido sama”, “rainbow” and “working!!”. Good things come to those who wait I hope!


Anime watch February

February 10, 2010

Really loving Katanagatari at the moment. Makes me wish I understood more japanese so I can understand the wittiness of the conversation better. I really love the way Nisio Ishin writes his stories, they focus more on the relationships between characters than the actions and the wordplay is very interesting.

The problem with the series is that it unfortunately seems that the animation quality has dropped or has become less consistent. I find that this is a rather common problem with a lot of hyped up anime, make a big impact with the first episode and slack off a bit in the hope that viewers don’t notice. Well they do notice and they do talk about it, but I suppose it gives the studios something to sell on dvd or blu-ray.

Darker than black gaiden has come out and I really enjoyed that too! Yin’s character really developed in the 1st series and it is extended into the OVA. Lolicon Hei is also pretty funny and sweet whilst his bk201 side is just as awesome and sober as ever. The 2nd series of DTB was a bit disappointing in my opinion, it didn’t give enough background into why Hei acted as he did and we have no explanation of Yin’s powers which is what the gaiden is supposed to provide. Somewhat backwards working and annoying for viewers but once again, the studios win.

Nodame Finale is coming along quite nicely, I am looking forward to seeing the ending, and hopefully it provides a nice conclusion for the NodamexChiaki relationship. At the moment it is building on the side character stories which is good and fine, but it inevitably must lead back to the star couple.

Gurren Lagaan movies are sitting on my computer and I need to watch them since they are apparently epic.

Dance in the vampire bund is not as interesting as I would have hoped. The manga is only up to about 30-40 chapters and reveals nothing of the main story arc so far so the anime will not be great, I might even stop watching it since I know there isn’t much to look forward to.

Also running out of japanese music, but I am waiting on a few singles to be released and look forward to tasting those.

Kara no Kyoukai

December 9, 2009

I had gotten a hold of this anime and it is one of the most well animated series I have seen for a long time. The animation is so crisp and beautiful, the character designs really shine when using this animation style even though the designs itself are rather simple. Shiki the female lead has interesting style though, red leather jacket on top of a kimono is a bizarre mix of east and west; not to mention her somewhat convoluted characterization as a split personality murderer who was to succeed her family.

The music is equally as beautiful and haunting since it is mostly composed by Yuki Kajiura, the brainchild behind FictionJunction and her new lovechild Kalafina who sings the music for Kara no Kyoukai. I am a major fan of Kajiura and the music really suits the series which makes me an instant convert even though the plot is a bit confusing.

I really liked Tsukihime and was surprised that Kara no Kyoukai is set in the same world, since Tsukihime was the first anime I had seen that was based from a Type-Moon franchise. I am slowly making my way through the series, but am missing the 7th and final episode. I guess I will have to wait til the DVD gets subbed.

In other news, I received RahXephon in the mail the other day and will be watching it again once I get through Kara no Kyoukai. I am mainly interested in the special features, but having a hard copy of one of my favourite animes would be great since somebody has my spindle and not returned it.

Addendum: just watched the 5th movie and I just have to say that the animation is absofuckinglutely gorgeous, especially the action scenes and you can clearly see that they did not skimp at all on production values at all. I don’t care if the movie is somewhat of a mindfuck since the animation makes up for it in awesome.

Away for a bit

November 25, 2009

Due to my grandad’s passing I will be in HK until Monday. It will be a very brief trip since I need to get back to work to bring things back under control.

On an unrelated note, I just finished watching an anime series called “True Tears”. It was a very interesting series which is a little deeper than your average school harem story. I found it to be very very nicely animated and the characters quite real besides Noe who stood out like a sore thumb. Her character didn’t have the same believability as either Ai or Hiromi, fitting into the more enigmatic/strange girl stereotype. I didn’t like her character nor that of her brother because they were the only part of the anime which stood out oddly. I reckon the story could have replaced her with someone less… queer.

If anything, I would compare this series to “5cm per second”, the animation was very well done and the theme of unrequited love is prominent in both- but in this case the love is returned and acknowledged. True tears is a fairly serious and slow paced anime, so it’s definitely not for everybody. I actually liked the characterization though, Hiromi was rather callous and bitchy but you could understand where she came from, the side story between Ai and Miyokichi actually tied in well with the main story too helping highlight the main themes and creating new ones.

Now I need to find myself another anime to watch, I was thinking of buying Rahxephon but I am worried about translation quality after buying GTO and finding the translations lacking.

Eureka7 + Gurren Lagann

October 28, 2009

I just started watching this anime and I cannot get enough of it. Basically it is part love story, part mecha battle, part conspiracy intrigue. The story follows 14 year old Renton who has always dreamt of being a “reffer” which is pretty much a person who surfs in the air using a ref board; the most famous reffers being an organization called Gekko State. One day Renton is drawn into the organization by a girl who pilots one of those mechs and the story then begins.

The characterization and personal development is what really interests me, because the main characters feel so real and fragile. Renton isn’t your typical shonen protagonist who grows stronger piloting the mecha; although he does become a better pilot, the focus is on his character growth and on him growing up and learning about people and the world he lives in. Most of the time he is a weak boy who tries to be strong for the girl that he loves, Eureka. Oh how he tries and luckily succeeds in protecting her in times of need. Where most shonen series show the main character defeated by the bad guy, Renton is more easily defeated by his own emotions and his relationships with his allies than anything else.

In contrast, Holland is the one who is portrayed as being the strongest mecha pilot, but for me he becomes somebody who I love to hate even without trying. His character is arrogant and callous yet charismatic; it is his selfishness that easily brings him down. It seems that he only cares about himself and is continuously running away from his personal problems. Being the leader of Gekko State he seems to be using his crew for his own purposes which have yet to be revealed in the 23 episodes I have seen so far.

Another anime which I have grown a liking for is Gurren Lagann. It is quite an epic anime full of over the top action mixed with some interesting themes of sacrifice and perseverance through adversity. The first 8 or so episodes only build up the rest of the story and I didn’t like the protagonist Simon very much since he was so damn whiny. But after that it gets better as he goes through a change. There are some things which weren’t developed very well in this series (namely the character relationships) but generally it was great in that the action never let up all throughout the 27 episodes. I’d like to watch the movies to see what they did differently (if anything), but that will have to wait for another day.

Senjougahara… tore

September 30, 2009

I think the general consensus on Bakemonogatari is that it will live on as one of the best anime in recent memory. Nisi Oisin is a bloody genius with the characterization and SHAFT really animates the series quite splendidly, though they had quite a few quality issues during the series. I would learn Japanese if this anime does not get an english distribution, seriously, I would learn just to read the novels! The art style goes hand in hand with the whacky and unique characters, since they all have something special and different to most characters I have seen in anime.

The final broadcast episode of Bakemonogatari takes us along Senjou and Araragi’s first date which is exciting in itself. As always Senjou is the biggest tease and does the unexpected in the lunch scene which was amazingly cute, we could see that her character has softened and she even laughs, albeit awkwardly. The date was like the first date from hell really, Senjou takes Araragi to a car… driven by her dad. Because meeting the parent on the first date is my ideal date too.

Senjou is like a wolf on a wounded lamb when she sees Araragi’s discomfort and pounces like a fat kid on cake just to tease the crap out of him as well, typical behaviour which everybody has learnt to love! She even dirty talks his ear off in the car whilst her father was driving, holy shit that is amazing. Araragi was even asked if he loved her in the car, that is a nightmare date if I ever saw one.

The conversation with Gendou Ikari… I mean Senjou senior was quite moving. He was so grateful that Hitagi found happiness and even told Araragi to take care of her, which he may have well said that they should get hitched already. I wasn’t sure who they would’ve used for the VA but it was the perfect voice for him after watching this episode, someone who is somewhat scary… like Hitagi!

The final scenes were so emotionally powerful and draws a perfect conclusion (or beginning) to the SenjouXAraragi relationship. Senjou is surprisingly blunt and honest (in a good way) and opens up to Araragi in a way that has not been seen before. This entire episode pretty much highlighted the character development of Senjou through meeting Araragi, showing how she has transformed from an scared introverted girl to a more open and caring girlfriend. The way she acts and talks is totally different, she even tries to be polite in asking Araragi to go on a date instead of demanding it… even though she demanded it in the end because that was all she knew to do to protect herself. The ending was just beautiful, summing up the romantic relationship between the lovers perfectly.

This episode is probably my favourite of the entire series, beating out the Senjou scenes in Mayoi snail arc. I would go as far to say that no other anime “finale” I have ever seen is as romantic as this. The mix of uniqueness and hilarity makes this romance special and the characters complement each other perfectly. This amazing series will rate at the top of my watching list forever. Now all I have to do is watch the remaining 3 episodes and I will die a happy man!

Very disappointed with episode 10 of the awesome bakemonogatari. Apparently SHAFT are lacking animators and it really shows in this episode. It was like watching a slideshow with captions. Also the ending was rather abrupt and doesn’t conclude very well, it was also missing the usual aftermath animation with the ending theme which usually consists of Karen and Tsuhiki pulling Araragi out of bed. The story had a lot of potential but it was butchered because of the animation cuts, especially the action scene which was confusing as hell since there wasn’t so much action as there were still frames.

The fact that there was no real conclusion was surprising to me since all the past arcs had something to sum them up at the end. When the episode ended I thought that there was another next week to wrap up, but I was wrong when the preview said that it would be Tsubasa cat arc airing instead. There was no resolution to the relationship between Sengoku and Araragi, it was just left open ended with Araragi feeling inadequate and Sengoku thankful for her Koyomi-niichan. Bittersweet yes, but it could have ended better given the stellar storytelling in the previous arcs.

I was a bit bothered by the dropping animation quality a few weeks back, and I suppose my fears have now been recognized. Hopefully they will be able to animate the rest of the series properly, otherwise it would really ruin one of the best animes I have seen in a long time. I haven’t been this eager about a series since probably Code geass or Samurai champloo!

No screens cos there really aren’t that many to show.

All I can say is wow, what a finale. They really built it up this time and I think that the pacing was awesome to split it into 3 episodes. I reckon the animation quality has gone down though, with the characters looking rather bland and undetailed in some of the screens. Though later in the episode 8 they went with a very sombre palette which worked to highlight the mood. The final episode of this arc was a lot darker than the previous ones, when Kanbaru’s inner desires were revealed to Araragi by Oshino. The rainy devil grants 3 wishes, but there were no further conditions besides taking her soul; what Kanbaru said about it granting wishes in ways that were contrary to the wielder’s morals was nothing but self gratification. The rainy devil gave her an excuse to hurt people that she hated, and that was enough for her to give herself to its power.

I really liked this arc because it showed parts of Kanbaru, Araragi and Senjougahara that we have either not yet seen or have seen very little of. Kanbaru clearly hid more than she let on in the last episode and it wasn’t until Oshino put her under the spotlight that Araragi found out that she actually did want to kill him. Why Araragi wanted to save someone who was going to kill him is somewhat a mystery but it was a part of him that Senjougahara is so drawn to. Araragi put it pretty clearly himself before he committed to trying to save Kanbaru when he says “Hating people is a part of life”, he understands Kanbaru’s emotions and forgives her hatred. The main surprise is that Senjougahara turns up and shows that she has borrowed a little of Araragi’s attitude to help Kanbaru out.

I love how the characters in this series all have such human characteristics despite their superhuman circumstances, it really pulls at the right strings to get you involved. Hopefully the next arc will have more on my favourite tsundere-chan… in the meantime, here are some pics from the official site!

PS. did anyone else think the Shinobu scene was really cute?

My new favourite anime Bakemonogatari aired its 7th episode on Friday and once again it has made my week in terms of anime viewing. Kanbaru and Araragi doesn’t have the same chemistry as the other girls from what I have seen. I am not sure if that is intentional due to their relationship (Kanbaru being jealous of Araragi over Senjougahara) or if the VAs are finding it hard to work with the script. I think it might be because they were trying to fit too much content into the episode and they couldn’t jam in the character building. The writers couldn’t fit the plot movement with individual character development as well as character relationships, that is how I felt after watching the episode. Not to say that it was a bad episode because it was still freaking awesome, just not as good as the last few eps; perfection is hard to follow up. Nothing beats the service Senjougahara gives Araragi in the first five minutes, it was sheer wtfness but so befitting of her!

FMA is coming along very nicely as well, plot developing at a very good pace, but what I have yet to see is how Ling Yao fits into the story, not much of him has been shown except as comic relief. The last episode was not quite as action focused as episode 19 where Roy absolutely kicked ass burning Lust to kingdom come, but showed Hoenheim for the first time which reveals a little bit about him whilst keeping him shrouded in mystery. Valkyria is not bad, it’s just very random and while the story is good the pacing is a bit sporadic. There aren’t many more episodes left so I will just see how it pans out. Bleach is crap filler arc and doesn’t make sense at the moment. Canaan is kinda crap too despite all the hype and the money dumped into production. All the main characters are really annoying except Alphard so it is really turning me off. Haruhi is Haruhi, I don’t know how to describe it really, more of the same stuff?

Next season is not really very epic, with Darker than black being amongst the exceptions. Last season we were left with Hei’s choice to be both human and a contractor, this season I think we will see the results of his choice especially after he destroyed the facility. Maybe I will also watch Nyan Koi which would be quite hilarious i believe. Fairy Tail will be THE anime to watch next season for sure, if anybody has read the manga then I reckon they will also agree. The only issue I can foresee is that they will run out of content since the manga doesn’t even have 150 chapters, so I think they will only cover the first arc. I also saw a pic of Kurenai OAV but have not heard news about it through my regular channels… That will be very interesting if it does eventuate since it seems to show a Murasaki in junior high.

Here is the list of fall anime I managed to google.

Anime update

July 15, 2009

As I wrote last Monday, I have started following 2 anime, Bakemonogatari and Canaan. After watching 2 episodes, I can tell you that both are worth watching and it seems to me that anime has picked up again this season, hopefully it will only get better!

Canaan is a bit slow to pick up though that is partially due to the fact that it is an animated sequel to the video game 428. There are a lot of things that happen that leaves you wondering what is going on, I think that is because the writers are making the show for those who have played the game and that lets me down a bit, although things are explained in time, they seem more to be an afterthought than a means to explain the conspiracy. I am a bit let down by this but the show makes up for it in terms of animation and cool factor. That and Maaya Sakamoto voices Alphard!!! Now if only she would sing a theme song for it…

Bakemonogatari in my opinion is absolutely fantastic. Animation is crisp and stylish, art direction is very refreshing and new. The series is superbly animated by SHAFT, the same ones who the recent Maria Holic. I found that they drew a lot on the crazy style of Maria Holic and twisted it to suit the mood of this anime. They have a lot of weird angle shots and the pacing could do with some work, but all in all if they manage to pull it together by the end of the next arc I will be a very happy man. Hitagi Senjougahara is also my new animated crush after episode 2 which provided more fanservice than you can shake a stick at…

The ideas that they threw around in the first story arc were very interesting, the play on the words “weight” and “feelings” in the japanese word “omoi” is very novel. The idea of a god crab that takes away a person’s emotional weight is a new one for me and the animation used to represent this was perfect, if not for the accelerated pacing in the last half of the episode. The first half was filled up with glorious fanservice but that is besides the point!

I leave you with a few images taken from the web and hope that they convince you to follow at least Bakemonogatari with me!

oh the prettiness...

oh the prettiness...

I love a girl who knows how to defend herself... with stationery

I love a girl who knows how to defend herself... with stationery