Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Going to A2F

So I will be going to the Arkansas Anime Festival (Hereto after known as A2F) this weekend. I'll be at the event Friday and Saturday and will be hanging out with some friends and going to some panels. I'm looking over the schedules now and am making an attack plan. If you're there, give me a shout here or on Twitter and perhaps a meet up could be arranged. I will be sure to give you as full of a report as soon as I can.
This is one of the few images from the A2F website.  A fox boy groping a feminine pocky-loving elf?

Also, I am planning on attending Tokyo in Tulsa in July and Motaku in August this year.  I'm finally trying to get out and socialize more.  Now if I could only get that local club to work out.

I'm also watching Okamisan and Her Seven Companions and if I can get the time, I will post a review.  The next few days will be busy, so we'll see what pans out.  Hopefully pics and stories to follow!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

New Banner!

Not that this really qualifies as a full blown entry or that it even needs one, but I thought I would let you know that I changed the banner image on the top of the screen because I changed some width properties of the blog and it just didn't look right after that.  I added all different characters and series this time, and somehow I made it look busier than before.

So what series are being represented on the banner and for bonus points, what are the names of the characters on it?

Stuff I Checked Out Lately

So I wanted to talk about some series I have watched lately.  My thoughts on any of these alone don't warrant an entire entry yet, but I think I can stretch these out enough to make it worth one entry.

First I want to talk about is Fairy Tail.  I just received my volume 4 copy and watched it all in one part.  This one closes out the Tower of Heaven story arc (Thank freaking goodness.  Too much emo kids in that one) and the entire Fantasia/Loxas Takeover story arc which I found more engaging.  In fact, I found I prefer the arcs that take place in Magnolia rather than ones that don't.

I won't make the obvious Super Saiyan comparison to Dragonball here, but I will imply that he looks seriously constipated here.
Volume four is the last volume planned for now from Funimation and I sincerely hope more is on the way.  Despite some of my preconceived notions about typical Shonen Jump series being generic and predictable, it is fun to watch.  The story arcs are nice and contained as well as not being completely necessary to watch.  I can skip that stupid moon rain arc if I wanted to and not really be affected by the rest of the mythology of the series.

However, I do have some reservations about the series as well.  For one thing, it is like a typical Shonen Jump series in several aspects.  Some episodes focus a ton on the combat aspect of the series, and every time it seems to push the characters to their limit.  Also, the last arc includes a tournament of sorts, which also screams typical Shonen title.  Looking ahead, I know there is just more of the same coming down the pike, but I can tolerate it, for now.

It's like they are begging me to make a Dragonball reference here, but instead I'll sing a line from a favorite AC/DC song of mine.  "I've got big balls, they're such big balls.,,"
All in all, I say give the series a shot and see for yourself if you like it.  It does borrow a lot from Shonen titles, so that can either be a plus or minus depending on your preferences.  I actually can't stand series like Bleach, Dragonball, One Piece and the like, but I can see me getting more volumes of this series should they come out.

Next is a series I think a lot of people on both sides of the giant puddle are crazy about.  I landed the first Limited Edition run of Puella Magi Madoka Magica and holy monkey was there a lot of stuff in that set.  Now as for the series itself, it is the first third of the series and honestly it seems a little slow in a few places.  Now I preface that by saying that I saw the first four episodes subbed before this was released so there wasn't much in the way of new things aside from a shiny English Dub and extras, and I have yet to see the final eight episodes and have kept myself vigilant in being non-spoiled about what happens, so the next volume may get a better appraisal than just a mention.

Character art by Jin Kobayashi, creator of School Rumble, a personal favorite series of mine.  I literally squeed when I saw this.
The items in the limited edition are well worth the money, in my opinion.  All preview images in postcard form (seriously, what numbskull would use those?), double-sided poster, a nice booklet with extra comics, illustrations, sketches, and notes from the director of the series.  Also, a soundtrack was offered in the package that has several key pieces of background music from the series.  My main complaint would be the lack of opening and closing credit music, but we'll either get that later or not at all.  Also, there isn't much in the way of extras on the DVD/Blu-Ray.  I wasn't expecting much, but footage from stateside events or something from Aniplex USA would have been a nice addition.  The dub is decent, but nothing to write home about.  The series itself, so far, is excellent.  It is easy to tell how it got a nice foothold in anime fandom and I make the analogy that what Watchman did to the Superhero comic genre Madoka Magica did to the Magical Girl anime genre.  Trust me, there is much more than meets the eye with this series.  If you aren't hooked by the end of episode three, then you make me sad :(

I was disappointed when I heard Bandai was not going to be releasing a series I looked forward to watching called Nichijou.  If you were a fan of Azumanga Daioh and/or Pani Poni Dash, then you HAVE TO CHECK OUT THIS SERIES!  It is school comedy/slice of life at its finest.  The series involves a group of girls in a high school who all have some kind of quirk, but try to live lives as normally as they can anyways.  One is a robot with a crank sticking out her back, another is basically Tomo from Azumanga Daioh, another is like Ichijo (the class rep) from Pani Poni Dash, and the final member is a girl who likes to draw Yaoi manga, but otherwise is the most level-headed of all the characters of the series.  There is also a professor who is actually a kid (Becky from Pani Poni Dash) and a talking cat (Um...Pani Poni again?), as well as a large supporting character list that would take too long to type out.

 The main cast at the dump.  Why?  Because someone can draw it, that's why!
The series is funny, unpredictable, and quite surreal at times.  Sometimes I will be watching a segment on the show and will be saying "What the crap?".  It can screw with your mind several times but if you are in the right mood, it can be a lot of fun.  I've been conservative about watching this, only a couple episodes per day most of the time, and that seems just right.  I have a feeling that this series is not one to marathon all the way through.  The episodes are just a bunch of skits put together and there isn't a continuity that the show follows.  It is just like a sitcom in which anyone can jump in at any time and enjoy the series.

The artwork and animation are superb.  Don't let the simplicity of the picture fool you.  Kyoto Animation did a fantastic job keeping the series style simple, yet complex when the script calls for it.  Just check out either of the opening sequences (Especially this one) to see what the animation is like for this series.  The background music is orchestral and a welcome addition compared to the dullness some series use.  The plot is not really engaging and once in a while is quite predictable for a seasoned veteran that watches this type of series, thus my suggestion to watch it in small chunks.  Also, SOMEONE LICENSE THIS SERIES IN AMERICA!  PLEASE!

Fairy tales and moe.  This really should not have caught my attention, but it did.
Finally, I blind bought another series (Madoka Magica volumes 2 and 3 are a leap of faith for me) called Okami-san and her Seven Companions, an anime series that spoofs classic fairy tales (Almost spelled it "tail" there since I'm used to talking about Fairy Tail. *Sigh*).  The series seems interesting enough to warrant a look.  I saw the first episode subbed when Funimation simulcasted it and enjoyed myself quite a bit.  They recently released a few minutes of an episode and Brina Palencia is voicing Okami-san while Luci Christian (hands down one of my absolute favorite voice actresses) will be the snarky narrator.  If that isn't a recipe for success, then I'm completely off my rocker.  Don't worry, a lot of people accuse me of that.  I look forward to my copy coming soon.

And that's it for recent anime activities from myself.  What have you checked out lately?