Because I like beautiful girls.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fall Anime Midway Roundup

We are about halfway through the fall season and since I didn't do any first impressions blogging, here is a midway roundup. Here's what I've been watching, in rough order of enjoyment:

OreImo - My Little Sister Can't be This Cute (ANN)

Kyousuke Kosaka's younger sister Kirino is irritatingly perfect. Pretty, popular, and athletic with top grades and even a modeling job, Kirino wants nothing to do with her loser older brother. That is until he finds out her greatest secret, she is an eroge otaku. Surprised that Kyousuke doesn't mock her and tell their parents, Kirino begins to drag him into her hobbies. Despite some major drama and bad security management, OreImo finally began "simulcasting" last week. Despite the title and many jokes, OreImo doesn't seem to want to be a incest series, rather it is a comedy about otaku. The target audience is pretty clear from the plot, general fans may find amusement (and Kyousuke makes the show fairly accessible) but those who have gone through the same experiences as Kirino will find much more to enjoy here. I frequently find my self laughing out loud and talking back at the characters.
If you liked - Genshiken, Nogizaka Haruka's Secret

The World God Only Knows

Keima Katsuragi is a galge otaku happy to ignore reality until a mistake contract with a demon forces him to capture the hearts of real girls. One of the top shows I was looking forward to this season and its lived up to my expectations. Obviously there is a lot to like here if you are into visual novels but the title is also resounding with a larger crowd and is Crunchyroll's top new simulcast.A light-hearted parody and without significant fanservice.
If you liked
- Baka to Test, Haruhi

Maidenly Demon Zakuro (Crunchyroll)

In this alternative history, the Meji government set up a Bureau of Spirit Affairs to deal with Japan's native spirits (Yokai) during the period of westernization. I didn't expect much from Zakuro, the Meiji period setting piqued my curiosity so I watched it and was surprised how much I liked it after 2-3 episodes. Despite being a seinen comic by a yaoi artist, Zakuro has a firm shojo adventure feeling to it. Crunchyroll also provides optional pretty purple subs.
If you liked - Fushigi Yugi, Sakura Wars

Squid Girl (Crunchyroll)

Squid Girl has risen from the ocean to conquer humanity! Filling this seasons wacky humor quota is Squid Girl, each episode features three separate skits about this moe invader. The humor is nonsensical and sometimes gross but never exceedingly cruel. SG is a family-friendly feel-good show with heart that has proved quite popular; only my personal preferences rank it this low on the list.
If you liked - Full Metal Panic! Fumoffu, Azumanga Daioh

Fortune Arterial (Crunchyroll)

I had high hopes for this one and it could still make a comeback but right now it is exceedingly bland school harem except for two points: Kouhei is not the usual loser character, instead he is exceedingly irritatingly perfect, and the main heroine is a vampire....who goes to school and doesn't really do anything vampire like at all. If you like calm slice of life harems you may enjoy FA but the average viewer will have better luck elsewhere. I will see it to the end in hopes the plot improves but if you haven't started it yet don't bother.
If you liked - Shuffle!, Negima!

Blood of the Sinful Hound ~Bloody Curs~ - Togainu no Chi ~Bloody Curs~ (ANN)

In a apocalyptic future, Akira is falsely accused of murder and is offered the chance to free himself by fighting in a tournament to topple a druglord. Bishonen and blood, Togainu is the fangirl fodder of the season. I started it because its based on a BL eroge by Nitro+CHIRAL but so far it hasn't shaped into much. Due to Aniplex/ANN/Oreimo drama, this one started late so I've only seen four episodes so far and its entertaining but hollow.
If you liked - Uraboku, Kizuna

Detective Opera Milky Holmes (Crunchyroll)

Milky Holmes is the most successful team of detectives at Holmes Detective Academy until they lose their toys (magical powers) at a battle with their rivals "The Gentlemen Thief Empire". They must struggle to gain back their toys and their place is society. The main quartet is a bunch of whiny loli has-beens, accustomed to a life of luxury thanks to their natural talents. While it is somewhat satisfying to watch the selfish brats deal with being normal people, the writers so clearly wants you to root for them that the plot ends up an awkward mess. The first episode follows a wierd time continuity just so it can open with sleeping loli fanservice, yet other episodes have awkward male nudity. I watched a few episodes just to figure out if it was supposed to be a magical girl parody or not. If it is, the show fails miserably. If not, it is the most hollow pathetic excuse for moe I have seen.
If you liked - UltraManic, Precure

Friday, July 30, 2010

Too many nendoroids...

Nendoroid Nagato Yuki Disappearance Ver. (PVC Figure) Good Smile Company The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya Nendoroid

Another beauty on preorder. Is it really a surprise since I loved Shoshitsu so much?

I didn't get the original Nagato nendoroid though so I don't feel very guilty about this one (this will be my first non-trading Haruhi figure). Besides the obvious wardrobe additions, this version seems to differ from the original Nagato nendoroid by having more hair highlights. I hope someone does a side by side comparison.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Princess Waltz: Now with less DRM!

Princess Waltz package ver. DRM removed

This isn't really news-worthy because it is simply a company doing exactly what they promised too. However that seems to be a rarer and rarer thing nowadays.

When Princess Waltz was released (my review here) both the download and packaged edition came with the Software Defender DRM system. This was JAST USA/Peach Princess/G-Collections first release with this system and a departure from their previous policy of selling physical copies without DRM.

I do not dislike Software Defender. It is extremely invisible and does what it is supposed to. Each code gets 5 installs so I can lend/share a game within reasonable limitations (lending/sharing itself is a interesting moral quandary but that's another post). That being said, I certainly don't care for it and would prefer to not have to deal with it. Many people agree with me so part of JAST's new policy was that a patch would be released for packaged editions after a certain length of time (1-2 years) and that would allow people to remove the DRM. Not perfect as you still have to use your serial code to fetch the drm-free patch but still a reasonable compromise.

The first of these patches came out today (for Princess Waltz) and amid smart phone cases on the deepwater horizon, one company kept their promise to their customers. Quiet, simple, accountability. Today I am happy to be an eroge customer.

So go buy it already

Friday, July 9, 2010

Westboro Baptist Church is coming to Comic-Con

The Westboro Church has some stern words for us comic-loving, costuming, nerds:
Comic Con is an excuse for whores to wear skimpy get-ups (as if they don't already) without censure & for emulating rebels to compare costumes. Yikes. Put away your action figures & get about the business of serving your God. You fail as a human being because you shun your only obligation in this life. - From the Press Release

If these people would spend even some of the energy that they spend on these comic books, reading the Bible, well no high hopes here. They have turned comic book characters into idols, and worship them they do! Isaiah 2:8 Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made: 9 And the ... See Moremean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not. It is time to put away the silly vanities and turn to God like you mean it. The destruction of this nation is imminent - so start calling on Batman and Superman now, see if they can pull you from the mess that you have created with all your silly idolatry. - From the Picket Schedule

Comic-con has finally caught the eye of Fred Phelps and his so called 'church'. I'm only sad that I'll be at a panel so I can't counter protest colorful signs such as "# Thank God For IEDs # God Hates Fags # USA = Fag Nation # Thank God For Dead Soldiers # Thank God For $10.9 Million # God Is America's Terror # Your Pastor Is A Whore # Don't Worship The Dead # America Is Doomed # God Hates America # Fags Doom Nations # God Hates Fag Enablers # Fag Court # Priests Rape Boys # Fag Church # Fag Flag" . No, I'm not making these up check the website. I knew they were nuts but protesting outside a 200,000+ person convention in downtown San Diego? Sounds a bit suicidal too.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Heroman Song Translations

I've been watching Heroman on Crunchyroll and noticed they only have the first ending subtitled so here are translations for the other three. As usual, my Japanese isn't great so read at your own risk. As for the songs themselves, Roulette was definitely the hardest to understand/translate as it is full of the happy nonsense J-Pop is known for and Missing was the easiest (relatively). The video that accompanies "My Hand is for Your Sake" is one of my favorite anime endings, it mainly focuses on Joey and friends spliced into everyday scenes on the US, most likely California. (I believe the first photo is of the I-405N near exit 51) Check it out on Crunchyroll even if you don't care for the show (the ED starts around 22:20 in ep. 13+)

OP 1 : Roulette by Tetsuya

キラキラ回れ! Roulette
Sparkling Spinning Roulette
At the moment of fate
Just now My way 始めようぜ
"Just now" "My way" Let's get started

When you lose your way
Close your eyes and listen to the wind
inside the pure white darkness

キラキラ回れ! Roulette
Sparkling Spinning Roulette
At the moment of fate
Just now My way 始めようぜ
"Just now" "My way" Lets get started
奇跡を起こせ Roulette
Causing miracles Roulette
Don't cry
Why not? Hang on まだ間に合う
"Why not?" "Hang on" We can still make it

全て賭けたら Roulette
Betting it all Roulette
狙い定めて Roulette
Aimed at deciding Roulette
回れ! 回れ! 回れ!
Spin! Spin! Spin!
Gather light and spin!

OP 2: Missing by Kylee
一人 来てみた いつもの公園 
I visited the usual park alone
it's a feeling never felt
"Its a feeling never felt"
子供みたいに 風の音が怖くて
Like a child scared of the wind
I ran the path home

窓の外は 広すぎる空 where are you now?
Outside the window the sky stretches out, "Where are you now"
(please reach)
いつか叶う願いなら ねえ 神様 
When praying, Hey God
今すぐ叶えて my wish
please grant it soon "my wish"

声が聞きたいよ miss you 今逢いたいよ
I want to her your voice. "miss you" I want to see you now.
どうしてもう 明日を見てるの?
No matter what, will we see tomorrow?
逃したねって timing 簡単に言わないで
I missed it "timing" Don't say that easily
Just once more

大好きなのに it's too late ずっと前から
Even though its loved "It's too late" Much earlier
諦めても 過去に出来ないよ
I gave up but I can't do it in the past.
しょうがないって no way 簡単に決めないで
It can't be helped, "no way" Don't decide that so easily
もう一度だけ 笑って
Just once more, smile again

ED 2: "My Hand is for Your Sake"/"僕の手は君の為に" by Mass Alert
分かり合いたくて 本音でぶつかってきた
By wanting to understand each other we collided
君の涙も 笑顔もここにある 
Your tears and your smile are both here
どんな苦しみだってもう怖くない 二人ならどこまでも行ける
No matter what pain I'm not scared anymore, if its the two of us we can go anywhere
僕がひとりじゃない事 教えてくれたんだ
You taught me that I am not alone

君に合う為生まれきた そんな言葉をつぶやいて度
I was born to meet you、When you mutter those words
不安は消えて 強さが心に灯る
My anxiety disappears and strength burns in my heart
ありがとう僕らしかわからない 合図で共に前に進むんだ
We knew nothing but gratitude and move forward with the signal
かけがえのない時に 刻み込め
Engrave that irreplaceable time

この場所から離れられない 同じ鼓動を感じて生きているから
We cannot be separated from this place because we live feeling the same pulse
守り切りたい 重ねてきた約束を
I want to hold on to that repeated promise
ありがとう僕らしかわからない 合図で共に前に進むんだ
We knew nothing but gratitude and move forward with the signal
かけがえのない時に 刻み込む
To engrave that irreplaceable time

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Reaching for Tomorrow's Future: Kud Wafter Arrives

As the title says, Kud Wafter arrived at my house today (about an hour ago?). Above is a simple shot showing everything in the package besides the DRM support serial card, technical manual and survey card. On the left we have all the discs in the package, the game disc, OST, and Rewrite trial edition. In the middle we have the box this all came inside of and a item serial card for AiSpace. Finally on the right side is my preorder bonus telephone card (50 call units), some promotional Weiβ Schwarz cards and the official guidebook. While not as thick as the book that came with the first-press of Little Busters! this is a perfectbound guidebook (50 pages) with dust jacket and includes sketches, an illustration gallery, and musical scores for vocal pieces.

So thats a short round up! I'll post more once I actually get into the game.

A rough translation of the Back Text:

A summer of living together with Kud.
Kudryavka Noumi and Riki Naoue are lovers,
In another world of Little Busters EX where that accident did not happen.
Summer break has begun and the Little Busters are returning home
Kud and Riki are left at the dormitory.
There has been an accident with the water supply at the boy's dormitory,
and the rooms cannot be used.
Kud suggested to destinationless Riki, "Right now I am recruiting a new roommate...". He replied "okay" with a nod.
From this began their secret cohabitation. A honeymoon while helping Kud with her summer vacation self-study and hiding from the other dorm inhabitants.

Where is the place those two are aiming for?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. (LA Screening)

This last Thursday my friend Aki and I went up to Los Angeles for a special showing of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの消失). Unfortunately for you all I am not the type to take a camera to a movie theater so I don't have any photos but read on for the even details!

The Event

Setting the actual movie aside for a bit, Bandai and the other sponsors set up quite a nice event at this unsuspecting mall theater. When we showed up at 6pm there was already a moderate queue. Though the event officially started at 7:30, the staff decided to begin the voice actor meet-and-greet/signing at 6:30 so we could wait inside the theater. All attendees recieved free movie posters signed in person by the dub voice actors Wendee Lee (Haruhi) and Crispin Freeman(Kyon), a raffle ticket, and a free copy of either the first english novel (the dreadfully ugly paperback) or the first manga volume courtesy of YenPress.

Rather than running ads or trailers for the pre-show entertainment Bandai showed the first two episodes of the recently completed season 2 dub, a pleasant surprise even if I despise dubs. At 7:30, (the actual starting time) the ASOS Brigade (Bandai's semi-viral marketing team) featuring Christina Vee (a popular fandubber/budding VA; again not my cup of tea) preformed a skit and a few of the songs (both in English and Japanese) with the accompanying videos on screen behind them. After this the movie finally ran (more on that below) and after the movie there was a raffle for Crunchyroll subscriptions (Aki won one :)) and the opportunity to get your poster signed by Christina Vee(from above) and Stephanie Sheh (The dub's Mikuru). Though not exciting, the final event feature was that attendees got atleast 5 hours of parking validation in the very expensive garage, longer than the usual validation given by the theater.

Just the guests, giveaways, prescreenings and parking credit alone were enough to warrant the 15$ admission fee (which sold out in 24 hours). This was a superbly handled event, especially for dub fans (and us sub fans got to see the movie subbed so no reason to feel shorted either). Especially since we combined this with a trip to Little Tokyo, the trip had all the makings of a convention (even overpriced concessions). Well done Bandai, well done.

The Movie

I don't want to say too much in fear of spoiling it, so I won't detail the plot beyond what the title gives away. It asks, what would happen if Haruhi completely disappeared one day and no-one besides Kyon remembers the world ever being otherwise? Obviously this movie is meant for fans of the TV series and even those who have seen season one (but not two) might be confused (luckily Bandai showed some of season two before the movie). As long as you fit this billing (and if you're reading this you probably do) Disappearance does not disappoint. Blessed with a longer than average running time (163 minutes) and a budget to match, it is a joy to watch. The story is compelling and hooks you in, I cannot remember the last time I have left a theater wanting to watch something again immediately. I rarely see the same movie at the cinema twice but if I could I would have bought a ticket for the next showing. I loved it.

The theatrical presentation was from an actual film print, with unfortunately white subtitles (a bit hard to see but unlikely to be the same as the future DVD). The translation was competent and the picture was clearly a step above the DVD video that was shown earlier. I have no technical complaints (even if I did they would be rather moot as this was a one-day event).

So that's that. Unfortunately for those who missed the showing, Bandai hasn't announced the movie's DVD release date yet ( I plan on preordering the DVD ASAP). However, season two went up for preorder recently (and i already reserved mine). Half of it is Endless Eight but the set price isn't bad considering the feature list:

Street Date: 2010/08/17

Price: $64.98 SRP (45$ @ amazon)

Language: Japanese Language Dialogue / English Language Dialogue / Optional English Subtitles

Bonus Features: Interactive Menus (Exciting!) Location Scouting Videos / Behind the Scenes of Aya Hirano’s Music Video (but not the music video?) / Endless Eight Prologue (because you really wanted more E8) /Special Event Video / Promo Videos / Commercials / Adventures of the ASOS Brigade Episodes / CD Tracks: Super Driver / Tomare!

So 14 (or 9 depending on your view of Endless Eight) episodes of anime and some sweet J-Pop for 45$? Seems like a good way to spend time while waiting for the Disappearance DVD :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Special Post: Little Busters! Setting and Character Summary

Since I have been fangirling over LB so intensely, one of my fine readers and twitter followers suggested I make a spoiler-free post explaining the characters etc.While I am absolutely in love with LB and have read over both the game and this post for accuracy, please keep in mind I am not fluent in Japanese.

This is also a complimentary piece to my Little Busters review on Sleepless Nights.

For those unaware, Little Busters! (official website is Japanese-only) is an all-ages (realistically 16+) pure-love adventure game (visual novel) by the famous studio Key (makers of Kanon, Air, & Clannad). There is a translation project in process but I know little about it (and am not really interested in it). I admit this post is somewhat paradoxical as those who it is meant for cannot play the game. So rather than as a promotional tool, this is provided more as a spoiler-free alternative to Wikipedia for those who want to know more about it for any reason.

Plot and Setting

"Little Busters!" takes place at a co-ed boarding school (a "gakuen") in some small city in Japan and revolves around a group of childhood friends at the cusp of graduation. Wanting to have exciting memories of their school time, they decide to start playing grasslot baseball and search for classmates to join their team, the "Little Busters".

Characters: Location in picture is noted by area and hair color

Riki Naoe (center, black hair) : Riki is our protagonist He is a slender quiet boy with narcolepsy who is hesitant to assert himself. His parents died when he was young and he seems to have grown up without a family (he refers to a legal guardian at one point, suggesting he may be a ward of the state). After Riki's parents died he was invited to join Kyousuke's group, the "Little Busters!" which came to serve as a surrogate family for him. He is a second year student at the boarding school and likely 19 years old.

Kyousuke Natsume (top, brown hair) : Kyousuke is in some ways Riki's opposite. He is the optimistic and confident leader of the group, always coming up with outlandish activities that were likely inspired by manga (which he loves and collects). Probably 20 years old (the age of majority in Japan), Kyousuke is older than the other members and as a 3rd year student, in the midst of job hunting. It was his idea to start the baseball team. He is Rin's older brother and feels responsible for her.

Masato Inohara (top, black hair) : Masato is a cheerful bodybuilding fanatic and Riki's roommate. He joined the Little Busters before Riki and has been with him since childhood. Masato is not particularly smart and can be quite simple minded but he has a protective spirit and cares deeply about his friends. He has a rivalry with Kengo over who is stronger. He is a 2nd year student.

Kengo Miyazawa (top, gray hair) : Kengo is a serious minded member of the kendo club and also a 2nd year student. Though he is a close friend to the other original Busters members he is resistant to the idea of a baseball team, preferring to focus on his club activities. His looks make him quite popular with female students.

Komari Kamikita (middle, blonde hair) : Komari is a cheerful second year student and one of the first to join the new Busters. She is a typical girly girl who enjoys sweets, picture books, and frilly clothing. Komari isn't very good at baseball but she works hard and enjoys the team. She is the best english speaker of the group. Komari is featured prominently in the promotional materials of the game.

Rin Natsume (center, brown hair) : Rin is Kyousuke's younger sister (by one year) and a member of the original Busters. Rin loves and talks to cats but is extremely socially awkward, she doesn't have any friend outside the original Busters when the game begins. It is this which lead Kyousuke to ask Riki to find female members for the baseball team. She can get quite loud and violent especially with Masato; Riki thought she was a boy at first because of her rough manner. Rin has many of the typical symptoms of Asperger's syndrome but any diagnosis is unmentioned. She is the main heroine.

Haruka Saigusa (middle, purple hair) : Haruka is a second year student from a different class. She is a prank-loving trouble maker and often running away from the Public Morals Committee (lead by Kanata). Haruka joins the team easily and always jokes around with the other members.

Kudryavka Noumi (bottom, white hair) : Kudryavka (Kud or Kudo for short) is a 1/4 Japanese (3/4th intentionally unspecified country with a space program and civil unrest) new student who has returned from living abroad. She is a year younger than the others (likely 18) but has joined the second year class due to transfer credits. She is close to the guard dogs on campus and is quite goofy (often exclaiming "wa-fu!". Kudo loves Japanese culture and is quite knowledgeable about it, she also loves English but she is terrible at it. Kudo is the fan favorite character (because she is the loli >.>) and is getting her own spin-off "Kud Wafter".

Mio Nishizono(bottom, blue hair) : Mio is a quiet, serious girl who prefers to sit in the courtyard and read books. She always carries a parasol and joins the team only as the manager. Despite her reserved manner, Mio has a sharp tongue and can be quite clever. She is a second year student.

Yuiko Kurugaya (middle, black hair) : Yuiko is a mature but eccentric second year student. She is smart and outgoing, happily sharing in Kyousuke's visions of grand adventure. Yuiko often makes sexually suggestive comments towards Riki or the other girls but she also has a gentle side.

Side Characters (promoted to heroines in EX)

Kanata Futaki : Kanata is the leader of the public morals committee and has a difficult relationship with Haruka. She thinks the Little Busters are trouble makers.

Sasami Sasasegawa : Sasami is the captain of the girl's softball team and is worshiped by her team members. She is Rin's rival and they fight almost daily. She objects to the Little Busters using the school's field. She acts and speaks like a rich ojousama-type but has a crush on Kengo.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A loss to our community...

Though I have been working on longer posts, I find myself updating this blog unexpectedly today. Some of you may remember Champange, a Japanese doujin circle I'm a fan of and have mentioned here before (see tagged posts). I had just ordered their latest work from Himeya, and that is what brought me to the website. An update on their homepage was added last week with some bad news. It seems that their programmer Furamen (literal romanization) passed away in a traffic accident. While this is a great loss to us fans, my heart is with his friends and family who surely are suffering in this difficult time. That being said, the circle has decided to continue producing works, feeling he would not want them to stop because of him. You can read the post here (in Japanese of course).

Those interested in the circle's products can buy them at the English DLsite. Most works do not require significant Japanese knowledge. Titles are released on CD first via the usual doujin shops but can be found at Himeya, of course doujin titles are not reprinted often so only the latest titles can be bought on CD. Personally, my top recommendation would be Little Royale EX, a fighting action game (the extra yen is worth it over the regular version for the save mechanism).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Is Pokemon anime?" Musings on fandom

Tokyopop, a company that used to be a large and successful manga publisher, is now making a reality show about anime fans. This prompted me to think about the fandom at large and naturally being the web 2.0 Gen Y label-of-the-day nerd I am, write a blog post:

This is about the anime fandom as a whole NOT anime itsself, or individual fans. Yes you are all special little snowflakes and noone fits the generalization perfectly just like no-one looks like Betty Crocker.

The first anime I watched? Pokemon.

So lets start with Pokemon, its a good spring board right? Probably the most internationally successful anime ever and a keystone of a franchise so hugely popular, that Nintendo has set up a multi-national affiliate company just to manage the brand (株式会社ポケモン).

Yet the obscure, Japan-only late-night show Kodomo no Jikan likely occupies more space in the collective consciousness of the anime fandom than Pokemon does. Its not that anime fans don't know about Pokemon or dislike Pokemon its just treated as something related to the fandom but not really a part of it. Anime forums are not full of screaming fans demanding the lately uncut episodes or even subbed episodes. Where are the simulcasts? The box sets? (Pokemon has its own separate fandom that would appreciate such things but they are more video-game focused)

These things are not going to happen because fans and publishers alike do not consider Pokemon as "anime".

And when publishers do attempt to market these popular franchises as anime (rather than as non-origin specific cartoons) strong hatred emerges from the fandom. Naruto fans are universally lambasted, YuGiOh and Bleach receive similar treatments. Though still considered anime to some extent, one must admit any show that has shown a chance of success in English has become excluded and hated by many fans on a matter of principle.

So what is the anime fandom actually a fan of? Anime as a whole, some particular subgenre, "the good stuff", or something else entirely? What makes the shows we blog, tweet, or write about on facespace/geocities different from the other animated shows Japan (or any where else) produces?

To me it seems the anime fandom is desperately trying to be "not mainstream" without being freaky. Like Hot Topic or Lady Gaga it enjoys a comfortable "rebel" status without straying too far into actual taboos. And in this quest to carve out a niche it has become so over bogged with group spirit and identity that it has become something that exists to consume its self. Anime conventions are full of non-anime related events. Maid cafes, costuming workshops, rum parties, dances, art shows, webcomics, video game rooms, lan parties, board game workshops, concerts, and more. These are not bad things (I enjoy many of them) but these are also exceedingly NOT anime-related. While some variety is fine, one could easily go to an anime con tomorrow, spend the entire day there and not do anything anime related at all.

When you go to an anime con there is a coming together reunion feeling to it; much stronger than at other cons/meetups I've been to. Its mostly pleasant. People are nice to each other for the most part, they see each other as more than random strangers. This is a good thing but I wonder if fans are addicted to this sense of belonging and group spirit more than they are to the media it supposedly stems from.

I don't hate the fandom, but I barely even consider myself part of it anymore. I purchase the same DVDs, watch the same shows, but I don't particularly feel an attachment to any of these people. I dislike most of the individuals I've met at cons, they tend to be loud and rude. In fact, I only started following other anime fans on twitter recently and was suprised to find that I liked talking to these people (unlike in my other interactions with the fandom). Maybe its the 140 character limit but I've managed to avoid the worst offenders that fill forums and con halls. I can discuss anime without being reminded how exclusive and special I am for "being a fan". Its refreshing.

I like discussing shows with others. But do we need such strong fandom spirit?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

90% Little Busters! Roundup: Goods, News, and Anime recomendations

I was going to call this a general roundup but then I realized it was 90% about LB -_- Scroll past jailbait Kyousuke to get to the non-LB stuff

Not much of interest has been happening to me as of late. I have been working on some long posts about aspects of Little Busters that will end up here if/when they get finished.

I preordered Kud Wafter with the yet-unannounced omake. I was waiting for getchu's decision (they supply himeya) before ordering but then erogeshop had a coupon sale. I hope I don't get burned. -_-

Aoishima replaced my Komari mobip after 2 months of exchange negotiation. Not bad service (considering my terrible Japanese...) but her joints aren't very good on this one either. They are cute but I can't recommend the mobip series at this time.

I bought the LB-EX artbook (despite not having played the EX part yet). Even so I'm considering getting the other one as well (which is what I was trying to avoid) because it seems to have bigger versions of some favorite CG and illustrations.

----End obsessed LB otaku section----

With that artbook, I also got the fifth Nanatsuiro Drops manga (recommended since its a fairly easy read) and the new JLPT spec book. This new listening section could be a problem but I haven't done a mock run-through yet. I'm pretty good at listening from playing LB though (see how I worked it in? xD) the grammar section is what is going to kill me.

For my birthday I got the Fate/Stay Night DVDs. I might review the set later since most reviews are by people who haven't played the game. Would that be worthwhile?

Animewise, I've been watching a lot of CrunchyRoll since they went legit. Particularly I want to recommend Time of Eve and Natsume Yujincho which are both fairly overlooked series that are quite deep and entertaining. (I've also been watching Heroman but that is something else entirely >.>)

I'm sure this post reads as a little aimless. -_- Please comment on what things you would like more in depth posts about!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Do you remember 'Childhood'?

The irreplaceable ones existed there...

I finally finished Little Busters!, it was quite a journey indeed. I'll be doing some more CG collection and need to get some bonus endings but I am through the refrain/true route and finally know the whole story. As many reviews will tell you, this game is truly about that last true route. A wonderful story is buried in under the guise of a galge, and you shouldn't be disappointed if you play though it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Kud Wafter

I'm a bit late with the news but Key is making a fandisc to Little Busters! titled "Kud Wafter" (assumedly a parody of the title "Tomoyo After"). I don't care for the opening theme much but you can't decide for your self (warning: cam rip)

So, as you can guess, its a Kudo epilogue fandisc, probably with lots of H (lol). Its pretty much set that I will get this barring natural/economic disasters.

But I hear you asking, "how can you get this if you haven't finished LB! yet?"

I have been playing Little Busters! of and on for three years (I can't believe its been that long...). The only reason I'm not done yet is that I keep taking breaks between routes, that amount of Japanese reading is exhausting and at first especially I could only do it short bursts. Furthermore in the middle, when I had finished my favorite girl's routes and was left to struggles though the rest to unlock Rin's route and the Refrain, I found my self not playing very often (that and life issues).

However more recently it has been easier to do and my pace has picked up considerably. I don't feel I misunderstood the routes I read earlier but I read much faster and with less reliance on rikaichan now. Still nothing near fluent but I can manage 80% of the voiced lines without using rikai (My listening skills far exceed my reading skills so Riki's lines are very difficult for me T_T) In this weekend alone I finished the Haruka and Rin routes, unlocking the Refrain (true path).

So despite my speed issues, I have been enjoying LB very much and haven't given up at all :)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Narcissu and Rapelay

What a combo we had today:

Narcissu 2 Released (the news item I wrote for VisualNovels)

After nearly three years of effort, the English edition of 2007 doujin work "Narcissu side 2nd" has been released. Narcissu 2 is the highly anticipated follow up to the 2005 doujin novel Narcissu by Stage-Nana. This author-sanctioned release contains two translations of the 2nd game and three translations of the original Narcissu. The game is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux/Unix as well as as a stand-alone OS virtual machine dubbed "Operation Setsumi".

More information can be found on the official site.

CNN revives Rapelay drama

CNN proves they will be anyone's puppet if it gets them a headline. Kotaku has a good article on this. I would rage here for a page and a half but Narcissu 2 just came out.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Black Rock Shooter Nendoroid and Figma

While most of us have already blown major bucks on the 1/8th scale Black Rock Shooter (my self included), only to then be tempted with the budget black blade version (which I skipped =P), I could not pass up the chance to get some other incarnations of this character. Indeed, these two figures are the fastest I've preordered (from reservation up to ordering).

She makes such a kyooooot nendoroid! I love the bonus face (lower left corner).

I just like figmas. ^_^ (I suspect I'll need to get a DL:stage if I want to hold her gun out?)

Expect more when these ship in July!

Miku-4 (mikuyon)

Miku-4, pronounced mikuyon, is a doujin 4-panel comic by Nagimiso that took the net by storm some time back. This comic has very few words but tells a pretty long story of Hatsune Miku's (the vocaloid character) coming of age.

I got the tankoban bound edition at BookOff! this week. This version varies slightly from the web edition but the majority is the same. (I recommend getting this version if you can because the art is much larger and nicer.)

You can read it here (some Japanese).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Goods round up! Chocolates and Kitty-chan (also Vocaloid puchi nendoroids)

I received some packages from J-List these last few weeks and now that its all arrived I took some photos. ^_^ The vocaloid puchi nendoroids are from Rising Sun Creations but J-List did carry them as well.

Luka is happy to show off the Kit-Kat "Pass the Test!" mug set. Kit-Kats are associated with passing tests in Japan (kit-kat sounds like kitto katsu; you will surely win/pass); also the term "Pass the test" (gokaku) can also mean pentagon so the mug is five sided.

Rin is peering at the included sample of Nescafe'. Instant coffee can be amazingly bad so I haven't had the nerve to try it yet. Starbucks Via is pretty good though.

Saihate Miku is examining one of the wackier items I've ordered (J-List specializes in these): Sexy Dynamite I love Oppai Chocolates, which are little oppai shaped white chocolates and come in a fitting torso case.

Rin is stealing the scene again.

Kudo likes the chocolates too ;). (NSFW? I shrank it just in case.)

This is a miniature strap type Hello Kitty omamori amulet intended to raise one's grades (between this and the KitKat set I should be OK right??). I took the bell off because it is hanging from my iPhone.

These are going to my mom, both are also strap type omamori. the kitty charm is for traffic safety and the other is a feng sui happiness charm.

This one is a full size general luck Kitty omamori.

I also bought a cute 3D Hello Kitty ice tray. Very sturdy feeling and surprisingly easy to use. :)

A very cold but cute Hello Kitty. She has a nose and such but ice doesn't photograph well.

A cute bunny friend of Hello Kitty. According to the official iPhone app her name is Cathy. (the more famous My Melody has a hood on.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thoughts of Brass Restoration and Busy-ness

Hello loyal readers, due to life changes I haven't been updating here faithfully. (I've been active on twitter, its not like I've left the fandom or anything ;) ) This is the first of hopefully many posts I will be making.

After blowing my mind by finishing Fate/Stay Night last month I've taken a respite from games and have been catching up on anime now that legal streaming is taking off strongly. I'll blog about some of those series soon but today I am back to visual novels. Actually, back to a game I gave up on some time ago: Brass Restoration. I got to a bad end and just stopped playing. I don't mean that too suggest it was boring. Rather, I related to it much too closely.

The plot revolves around an amateur musician, Ryo, who recently lost his arm in a train accident. Without his arm he cannot play music any longer. The music club members, beg him to come and help, visit, and be part of the fold again and this is the main conflict of the story. Now, I have both my arms, I'm typing with two hands right now, but it was this "coming back into the fold" part that really bothered me. I quit violin after going to lessons and playing for about a decade or so. Its not that I hated violin, I just didn't have the desire to spend the time time to practice faithfully and didn't feel it was right to my teacher to go if I wasn't going to be a diligent student. After all this was a hobby. Everyone I knew begged me to "start again" even people like my (now amicably ex-) boyfriend begged me to play even though they had complained about my practices taking too much time before. My sister harassed me for "being a quitter" as well. Later when I actually wanted to fool around with music again (not take lessons just play for fun) I knew the drama would start a fresh once my bow hit the strings.

When I was in Ryo's mind and all these people are begging him to "come back" it stirred up that old drama. Now obviously Ryo actually still wants to be a musician and all that, he had his chance taken, he didn't get a choice. These are not parallel situations but the story was effective enough to stir those feelings of resentment and I think this is probably a sign of good writing.

That ended up as quite a personal rant ^^; I'm giving BR another shot, if your interested get the game here (free).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

There She Is!!

I'm sorry I'm years late on this one. But if you haven't seen this amazing work of Korean animation check it out. This is a quite cute love story though it take a serious turn around part 3. Do watch all 5 steps, as a complete series this work really is much more than the simple sum of its parts.

If the below tags don't work for you, you can watch the videos at this site. Due to age, the author provided code calls on legacy HTML :(

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

iCame, iSaw, iPad

Ok you can go read about the iPad on if you have been in a cave and don't know what it is. Millons of bloggers has described what it does and I'm not going to repeat them (except worse) here.

Here's what I want to know before March:
  • Textbooks! Steve said "We are very excited about textbooks as well" This is the primary appeal the iPad has to me. How can I get my hundreds of dollars and tens of pounds of textbooks on this little device. If not from Apple, CourseSmart has promised tablet textbook support and even made a mock up. Textbooks are the main reason I would want a iPad.
  • Tethering: I pay AT&T 30$ a month for 3G on my iPhone. Let me tether a iPad to it if your not willing to allow full computers. Preferably tethering over Wi-Fi or bluetooth so I don't need to blow an extra 130$ on a 3G chip. Hell I'll plug the iPad into the phone if that's what it takes.
  • iTunes Extras/LPs: Just make 'em work on the iPad. There is no excuse.
  • Student Discount?????????? Pretty Pwease??

To be honest multitasking isn't a huge dealbreaker for me because I would buy the iPad for educational use. Its probably good the device doesn't let me have 50 windows/programs open when I'm trying to study.

Some features I think would be cool to have in the iPad (but don't count on it):
  • Plug your iPhone into the iPad and play media off the phone. Why should I carry two portable devices with my full library on them? this would be great to play someone else's iPod on the iPads larger screen easily.
  • Flash? Please?
  • Function as a secondary monitor to one's mac when docked. Its a big beautiful screen and this would sell tons of docks.
  • LogMeIn for iPad. Like LogMeIn Ignition for iPhone but on a useable screen size.
  • It should make toast. Apple devices do get very hot so this is not as far-fetched as you might hope.
  • hulu. Seriously, make an app hulu, just make a frigging app. I am the point where I will PAY for it.
  • The rumored apple tv show subscription would be nice too.