Worth Reading – 11/10/2017

Welcome to a much belated but still very much worth reading!  Frankly, at least in the short-term, if it’s worth reading it ages well.

Both older shows and adaptations are ongoing themes here at Worth Reading, and this week we have a veritable feast on offer.

  • First up, we have a show that manages to be both – an older show, and an adaptation: over at Anime B&B, Marina reviews Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199.

This is very timely and very important…  because at long last, Yamato 2199 is available as legal stream!  Funimation is now streaming a dub, and Crunchyroll is now streaming the sub.  Previously it was only legally available as a VERY expensive boxed set.

What is Yamato 2199 and why is it so important?  It’s a reboot of the famed 1974 classic Uchuu Senkan Yamato, a seminal show in anime history.  It was the first serial anime aimed at adults, and helped pave the way in Japan for anime as we know it today.  Over on this side of the pond, it’s dubbed adaptation as Star Blazers helped ignite the passions of the first generations of American otaku.

Forty years on, I can still remember rushing home after school to catch the latest episode…  Hurry Star Force, hurry – or the Earth with die.  For a young nerd in the midst of the long SF drought of the late 1970’s, those words were magical.

Anyhow, I strongly urge you to at least check out the first few episodes.  It’s a crackin’ good adaptation and very good show in its own right.  If you like space opera or sci-fi, it should be right up your alley.

  • Ayron at Reading Between has been doing episodic reviews of Shirobako.  He’s got some very keen insights on the show, and they’re worth checking out.  He’s also one of the few ani-bloggers and/or Shirobako watchers that I haven’t seen openly advocating tying Tarō to an anchor and dropping him in the middle of Tokyo Bay.
  • The Pantless Anime Blogger has two interesting posts…  One, a collection of his top moments of 2014, and another with reviews of shows in his recently completed Summer 2014 lineup.

2014 was my first year of watching current season streaming anime… Both posts tug at my nostalgic heartstrings.  With Winter 2018 fast approaching, I have my own retrospective project in the works, looking back four years each quarter.

Her’s is a story I’ve heard many times before, different in details but “normal” in the broad brushstrokes.  I got lucky.  I leapt from 70’s fandom, which was something you stumbled upon if you were very lucky…  to 00’s fandom where the ‘net and Google serve up a veritable waterfall.  Someday I should write about that early era…  shakes cane in the general direction of the kids on his lawn…  Which I should be careful doing, though I’ve been around various fandoms for a long time, I’m a relative newb in terms of anime fandom.

  • Scott at Mech Anime Reviews tackles fandom by categorizing the weaknesses of different types of anime watchers -breaking down different types and how they relate to the community at large.  And reminding us that we should watch non-seasonal stuff too…  there’s a lot of stuff out there that’s important for various reasons even if it isn’t current.

Reading his listing of genre shows, something interesting occurred to me… Whenever people list off recent shows in the isekai genre, Overlord is always noticeable by its absence.  I wonder why that is?  Is it because the protagonist’s form is so inhuman or that over the course of the show he gradually loses his humanity and submerges himself into his character?  Is it because he so willingly abandons the real world (where he’s a salaryman) in favor of the fantasy world (where he’s very much living out a power fantasy)?   Overlord veers sharply away from the assumptions and tropes common to the genre.  Of course, it’s always possible that it simply didn’t make that big an impression on English language fandom…  But it is getting a second season.

Personally, it’s been a blast seeing the classics on the big screen.

And there you have it – this weeks Worth Reading with a healthy serving of random editorial comment by yours truly.  What do think?  Drop a comment below and let’s talk!

Worth Reading: 10/13-10/20

And here we are for this week’s edition of Worth Reading…  Sorry it’s a bit late, forgot we had to take two of the girls to the vet yesterday afternoon, then didn’t feel well when we got home.  (Then went to bed early and got up gawdawful early all slept out… and am now finishing this up pre-dawn.)

Last week, I posted a link from Remy where he pondered things that might cause you quickly drop an anime.  This week, Chris at Peach’s Almanac looks at the same question from the opposite angle.  In the Art of First Episodes, he talks about the various techniques used in first episodes to hook the viewer.

Speaking of Remy, he’s been on quite the roll the last couple of weeks.  This week, he asks a question that never occurred to me:  Dessert First or Last?  That is, what order to you watch a day’s anime?  (Be sure and check out the comments.)  Me, it varies…  Sometimes light to get ready for heavy, sometimes heavy then light to recover.

I always find it interesting the rabbit holes that fans can dive down…  And this week Infinite Zenith jumps down an interesting one: Determining the location of Taki’s apartment in Your Name.

Fandom and obsession oft go hand-in-hand, and that leads Kausus of Otaku Gamer Zone to ask: At what point do we become too invested?  It’s all too easy to slide down that slope, and sometimes difficult to find a balance.

And finally sometimes serendipity happens… A few days ago, this video popped up in the “Watch It Again” section of my YouTube homepage:

Which prompted me to post this tweet (kinda sad that nobody agreed with me, but whatever):

Then the very next day, Doteco at Ani-Dotes publishes an interesting piece as part of undertaking the 100 Day Anime Challenge: How ‘Tabi no Tochuu’ Embodies the Soul of Spice and Wolf.   As a side note, I keep thinking I might take on one of those challenges, but I need another project like I need another hole in my head.

As a final note, next week is going to ‘interesting‘, but not in a good way.  We’d taken Miss Emma to the vet to get a lump checked out (a lump that had doubled in size in the few days between discovering it and getting to our vet)…  and it turns out that it’s likely cancerous.  She’s a good candidate for surgery, and so she’s going in on Wednesday to have it removed.  Of course that’s the day my weekly post is due, but I don’t know how much concentration I’ll have…  Please bear with me.

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Our girls… Abby, Molly, and Emma. (Abby and Emma are sisters.)

Worth Reading: 9/28 – 10/13

Wow… it’s been a busy two weeks with all the finales and premieres.  But things are generally returning to an even keel, and so I present this week’s edition of Worth Reading.

This writing thing isn’t always easy. Even good shows can be hard to write about – back in the Spring season, it was so hard to find something to say about Tsuki Ga Kirei that didn’t boil down to “so sweet, so good, so sweet”.  Karandi at 100 Words Anime addresses these problems with from the point of view of writing series reviews in Reviewing Mediocre Anime.

Pasta at Plain Pasta and Plain Rice posted an update to his Anime Tracker Comparison.  MAL seems to be the most popular and practically the default, but it’s far from the only service out there and his comparisons tell you a lot about the good and the bad of each service.  Personally, I stumbled onto Anime Planet (link goes to my profile) early on and haven’t seen anything to convince me to switch.

Dave at Slow Anime presents an interesting take on the potential American adaptation of the insanely popular (and deservedly so) Your Name.  (The announcement of which produced an enormous tempest-in-a-teapot on Twitter.)

Remy at The Lily Garden posted an interesting and timely essay – What Makes You Instantly Drop an Anime Series?  Instant drops (partial episode drops) are so rare for me that it’s hard to make generalizations about causes.  I think most of them are cases where the show is just egregiously bad or cringe-y.   First episode drops…  there’s a variety of potential causes, but most of them boil down to “this pisses me off or annoys me” or “my time is too valuable to watch this sh*t”.  A significant percentage of my first ep drops are basically shows that I don’t necessarily dislike, but which I never manage to find the time, energy, or motivation to watch the remaining episodes of.

Then there’s also the (in)famous Three Ep Rule and the (unique to me I think) Mid-Season Gut Check…  But those are topics for another time or maybe down in the comments.

I found Marthaurion‘s post on picking and choosing blog post formats pretty interesting, mostly because I’ve never really thought about it.  I don’t think my style is a fixed one, I just sit down and let fly with whatever seems to work that week for that episode…  Maybe I should think about it and try for a more consistent style.

And last but not least…  ANN has released it’s Streaming Reviews Schedule for this season.  Not gonna lie, I read a lot of other reviews, blogs, and forum posts when I’m working on my weekly writeups.  Partly for inspiration, partly because I often do my best work when I have somebody to react to.  What I never do is read in advance of watching an episode of a series I’m watching.  I don’t mind having my perceptions altered afterwards, but I refuse to allow others to direct and control my experience.  I specify “series I’m watching” because sometimes those writeups lead me to discover series that I wasn’t going to watch or I thought I wouldn’t like.

Hmm…  More editorial comment this week than usual.  But actually, I’m liking this format because it lets me talk about things that don’t fit in my episodic review post or which aren’t big enough (or my thoughts aren’t complete enough) to warrant a feature post of their own.

Anyhow, let me know what you think down in the comments.  And don’t forget to like or comment on the posts you visit!

Worth Reading: Links, news, and views. 9/21-9/27

Welcome to this week’s edition of Worth Reading!  Yes the photo is related to one of this week’s links – but it’s so scrumptious looking I just had to post it first.

Photo courtesy of 5th Luna at Flickr

I seem to keep concentrating on articles about older shows and then this week
Tsuyuki at Anime Corps posts this very relevant article – Rewatch Dilemma.  He discusses the experience and the pros and cons of various approaches to rewatching anime you loved the first time through.

Also on the topic of ‘looking back’ , Ace at Humble Ace talks about The (not so) Small Ways Attack on Titan Appealed to 16-y/o Me.  I don’t think anyone is surprised that Eren is noticeable by his absence…  I can’t think of any other wildly popular anime with a lead character so widely loathed.

planetarian-kv

Jon at Jon Spencer Reviews takes a look at Summer 2016’s outstanding Planetarian.  For me Planetarian was my AOTS that season, a significant vote of confidence considering that Orange and Sweetness and Lightning aired the same season.  At only five episodes, it’s a quick watch and well worth seeking out.  It’s still available on Funimation and VRV.  I’ve had the VN sitting on my computer for months now (Steam had it on sale back in late winter) and I really need to play it soon.

The Weekend Otaku takes a different look at an older series – comparing the anime and live action version of Your Lie in April.  He examines how the a slightly different story emerged from the choices made to fit the long and wandering tale into a much more limited run time.

So far we’ve looked at an adaptation of a VN and a live action adaptation…  And continuing on that theme, Karandi at 100 Word Anime reviews the first volume of Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash.  There’s not many comparisons with the anime, but she does shed some light on the differences between the two.

Earlier in the week, the announcement that One Punch Man 2 would have a new director and be animated by a different studio caused quite a stir.  Scott at Mechanical Anime Reviews posts in response how he is worried about sakuga culture – basically he’s bothered by the concentration on the ‘look’ of the show.

I’ve been dreaming of visiting Japan for years, long before getting into anime…  (I refuse to use the term bucket list, it sounds so mechanical and I loathe it.)  While there are a few anime pilgrimages I’d like to make, much of what I want to do are either standard touristy stuff or off the beaten path touristy stuff.  (Such as visiting Basho’s grave, and other sites associated with haiku and haiku poets.)  With that in mind, Yukinocake at The Only Shinyuu Site posted a couple of interesting pieces:

  • Anyone who knows me well, knows why the next article catches my eye…  5 Quintessentially Japanese Autumn Foods You Must Try.  Food and cooking is another of my central interests, and if you’re exploring the season in a country you should go all in and try the associated foods.

Hit the jump for this week’s ‘below the fold’ material and a look forward to my posting schedule for the next few weeks.

Continue reading “Worth Reading: Links, news, and views. 9/21-9/27”

Worth Reading: Links, news, and views. 9/14-9/20

Welcome to this week’s Worth Reading!

Last week I linked to a review of Kiki’s Delivery Service and pondered on why Ghibli movies were so rarely reviewed. Reader Dawnstorm however provided the simplest and most likely explanation – the anime community concentrates mostly on streaming and current season stuff. That being said, reviews of and articles on older stuff aren’t exactly uncommon.

  • Truly Trash Media posts a look back at the classic Angel Beats – the second anime they saw.  (Though they don’t say when that was.)  It’s a fun read, because Angel Beats was also among the early shows I watched.  After watching it, I told my wife “there might be something to this anime stuff” and we sat down and watched it together.  There’s been few if any other shows that I’ve ever immediately re-watched.  To be fair, that may be for the reason Dawnstorm gave – as one season ends, it’s time for another without much of a break.
  • Frog-Kun at Fantastic Memes reposted an older column of his comparing the LN and anime versions of INVADERS of the ROKUJYOMA!?.  Though mostly forgettable, it was a fun little show.  There’s one scene in Ep3, a Crowning Moment of Awesome (Warning: TV Tropes link) for Yurika, that I do re-watch now and again.  I just love the look of determination she gets right before her henshin sequence… Wait a moment – I’m a Magical Girl! I’ve got this!
  • Frog-kun also authors a piece at CrunchyrollHanasaku Iroha” – The Good, The Bad, and the Kawaii.  Sakura Quest (whose finale aired today) was marketed as part of a thematic trilogy with 2011’s Hanasaku and 2014’s Shirobako, which makes this article particularly timely.  The article is worth reading, and the anime worth watching.  In some ways, Hanasaku illustrates what Sakura could have been and fell short of.

Speaking of older anime and adaptations (we were discussing the latter last week)…

  • Scott at Mechanical Anime Reviews discusses why he liked the original Kino’s Journey and his concerns over next season’s reboot.
  • Last week’s Worth Reading post had an interesting conversation on adaptations down in the comments (scroll down to read them), they’re worth checking out.  Feel free to add your thoughts.

Adaptations and their issues just keep coming up.  I should probably just create an ‘Adaptation’ tag and be done with it!

Irina at I Drink and Watch Anime posts an interesting piece – Why I keep watching bad anime.  C’mon, it’s something we’ve all done – watched a piece of complete trash coughLove&Liescough right through to the end credits.  I know I have.

Reasons I’ve kept watching a bad anime:  It started good, and I hoped it would return to being good…  (Dimension W)  It’s wasn’t that bad taken as individual episodes or arcs…  (Gangsta)  The pieces were there even though they failed to pull it together in the end…  (Celestial Method)  And of course the infamous “trainwreck you can’t take your eyes off of”…  (Big Order)

Yukinocake at ShinYuu posts on Japanese Breakfasts.  Very different from what I’m used to eating for certain!  (Usually cereal, unless there’s leftover pizza – then pizza.)  I keep meaning to talk more about food & cooking here, it’s one of my favorite topics.

As usual, hit the jump to see the ‘below-the-fold’ material.  Bonsai, my favorite villians/antagonists, and a dream about ani-blogging!

Continue reading “Worth Reading: Links, news, and views. 9/14-9/20”

Worth Reading: Links, views, and news. 9/7-9/13

Welcome to this week’s edition of Worth Reading!   I’m still tinkering with the format, and this week I’m experimenting with adding a bit more editorial comment to the links.  I’ve also changed the series title, but I’m thinking it may be a bit ponderous.  Anyhow, this stuff is worth reading, and after you’re done so drop me a comment with your thought on the new format.

And don’t forget to comment on the links you visit.  Comments and discussion are the lifeblood of our community.  (This is directed at me too…  I’m terrible at commenting.)

  • kViN at the Sakuga Blog posts an interesting collection of artists books (self published books by anime creators) purchased at Comiket 92.
  • At the Anime Corps, Tsuyuki tackles some of the myths and misperceptions of he public at large with regards to anime and the anime fandom community.  He makes a number of well-reasoned arguments and points that I’ll keep in mind next time the topic comes up around me.  I don’t have this problem with my friends though, we’re all weird.  (In high school I was considered the normal(!) one of our group.)
  • Studio Ghibli’s movies were a gateway for many of us I suspect, but they’re rarely touched upon by current anime critics or by current season bloggers.  Are they considered sacred?  Is it that it’s all been done before?  Whatever the reason, I don’t think we should shy away from doing so.  You don’t need to worry about saying something new or original.  Just do your best to express your thoughts and opinions. All that serves as long-winded introduction to Chris’ piece at Peach’s AlmanacKiki’s Delivery Service: Kiki’s Insatiable Drive, a well done look at some of the themes and motifs in this wonderful movie.
  • Also on the topic of Ghibli and Miyazaki, Jonathan at Schoolgirl Milky Crisis posts a thoughtful essay on Ghibli’s current recruiting drive to assemble a new team of animators for Miyazaki’s next film.  (With all the recent attention to how little animators get paid – this one is truly worth reading.)
  • At Jon Spencer Reviews, Jon posts a fun essay comparing and contrasting three of my favorite anime – BarakamonUsagi Drop, and Sweetness and Lightning.  He also talks about the unique things in each anime that made them appealing to him.
  • In the past few weeks, there’s been a great deal of smoke and heat generated over the Netflix adaptation of Death Note.   Karandi at 100 Word Anime weighs in with a thoughtful piece on the challenges that adaptations face and the role preconceived notions of anime fandom play in their reception.(Disclaimer – I have not seen the movie, nor do I intend to.  For that matter, I haven’t seen the original or read the manga.  The premise does not appeal to me.)

Side note: Does anyone know how to get WordPress/html to insert blank lines inside bulleted lists? ‘p’ tags don’t work and br / doesn’t either, and I want breaks inside some entries such as the one above.  I hate it when I can’t do simple graphical layout stuff with HTML.  You can tell it was designed by computer people with no experience at graphic or layout design.  (Not that I’m any expert, but I did learn the basics aeons ago.)

No jump this week as there is no ‘below the fold’ material.  Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to comment!

Worth Reading: links and stuff. 8/31-9/6 2017

A new feature for the Lounge!  I’ve sometimes collected these snippets and put them down at the end of the weekly reviews, but they’ve never seemed to fit well there.   So, instead I’m going to collect them in their own weekly post.  Episodic and current anime links will continue to be in the weekly post because that’s where they fit best.

Some weeks there might be less than others, or maybe no posting at all, but so it goes.

A shout out goes to Jon at Jon Spencer Reviews for helping me brainstorm the title.

Worth Reading

  • First up – a link I post with a lump in my throat…  Mage in a Barrel is ending regular posting.  As I’ve said before, Bless was the inspiration for starting this blog and has long been a mainstay of my anime reading, so this is a sad thing indeed.  Though, knowing Bless, he won’t be able to stop posting entirely for any length of time.  But, ya gotta follow your bliss.  Good luck Bless!
  • Over at Shinyuu, Yukinocake posts a wonderful review of the Orange manga.  If you haven’t read the manga or seen the anime, both are available on Crunchyroll and I highly recommend them.  Of the two, I slightly prefer the manga as the anime has some pacing issues.
  • The Weekend Otaku examines the animation quality of the shows he’s following for the Summer 2017 season.  I don’t think he gives Abyss the credit it deserves, but it’s still interesting reading.
  • Lita at Lita Kino Anime Corner posts on the value (or lack thereof) of seasonal hype and balancing that with with your own judgement.  For my part, I try not to be swept up in it…  but I don’t ignore it either.  It’s just one more data point in evaluating whether or not to watch a show.

Hit the jump to see the ‘other stuff’ below the fold!

Continue reading “Worth Reading: links and stuff. 8/31-9/6 2017”