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Some more blibbering about anime (and manga) - Eldritch Lacemaking and other Randomness

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January 1st, 2009


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09:38 pm - Some more blibbering about anime (and manga)
So, in order to kick off this year in fannishness I shall, well, some up some of my fannish experience from the end of last year. And since the current obsession du jour happens to anime and manga stuffs (amongst other things), it is all of that variety - basically, all the anime, manga and related things I've gotten through since this last post. Or mostly since end of semester, really.

I'm even starting a new tag for it. Which shall be retroactively applied. (FMA remains in it's own tag. Because what with the ongoing manga and forthcoming new series, it's probably a lot busier)

I also have a MyAnimeList, though that's more about me keeping track of what I've seen and what episode/chapter I'm up to. Also, I want to watch like a kajillion things, so the "Planning to Watch" section is only things I actually have immediate access too (ie. I own).

But any how, following me have My Thoughts On Anime (etc.). In alphabetical order, because that's as good as any, and of varying levels of depth and n00bishness.

Baccano

Apparently, Baccano is based on a series of books - which I would quite like to read, but can't really, seeing how there's no official English versions, and the fan translations don't seem to be moving real quick. Or starting with the first book.

Anyhow, this series is kind of like one of those movies, where instead of having one or two leads, there are a dozen main characters, all with their own subplots that interwieve and connect with each other. And just to complicate things even more, the series isn't told linearly. Which means you spend the first few episodes utterly bewildered, the next few actually getting into the swing of things, and the last few delighted as you see how the jigsaw all fits together. Which means that you really have to concentrate, but it's totally worth it once everything falls into place.

It's set (mostly) around 1930, and the subplots can mostly be grouped as "the shenanigans of a bunch of gangsters" and "a bunch of immortal alchemists try to replicate the Elixir of Life", and how they interrelate around the mad goings on on a train. And yes, it's just as cracked and awesome as it sounds. It's also only 12 episodes - I watched it in a day.

Anyhow (spoilers here): My favourite characters would have to be Claire/Vino/Rail Tracer/whatever the hell else he calls himself, who is distressingly adorable for a batshit insane psycho-killer and Isaac-and-Miria (you can't really separate them) who grow on you after initially seeming annoying. I also rather like Firo and his pimping hat and Nice because she blows shit up.

I also have a mad obsession with the newspaper people, and am prone to coming up with crack theories about why we never see the boss, or the fact that the Vice-President is called St Germaine. I mean, it's a series about immortals, and a character just happens to be named after an immortal character from urban legend? I need to find out if the books cover this.

But yeah, it's a short series but if you like the aesthetic, I love the complicated way it tells the stories and how they connect, and the whole show was just plain fun - which is also why I wish more of the books were translated, so I could check them out. It is also apparently up to be dubbed et al this year, so it may be about to get a fannish explosion. Which would be nice - something this awesome should be much more well known.


Chi's Sweet Home

For something a bit less complex, and a lot more AWWW! inducing, Chi's is basically a series of 100-odd 3 minute anime shorts, about the adventures of a kitten who wanders away from her mother, and the family that adopts her. It's mostly the incredibly trivial day to day stuff in Chi's life, but it is also utterly, ridiculously adorable cute. Especially if you love cats the way I do.

It's not really particularly intellectually or heavy, it's just fun cute factor that's nice to watch when you have some time to kill. Or need adorableness.

That said, there are some ongoing plot-type things, which is the source of my one real criticism of the series - of the three arcy type things, only one gets resolved, and the other two are left hanging. Which makes the whole thing feel like there should be more episode, but there apparently aren't.


Cowboy Bebop

Yes, I know, I'm a disgrace to geekdom for not having seen this earlier. In my defence, I did check it out ages ago, and watched the first episode. And shockingly enough, I didn't like it. But more recently, when my anime fannishness was on the rise again, I thought I should actually give it a proper shot, and so I borrowed the series from tinyteddyqueen, and gave it another shot.

So once again, I watched the first episode and didn't like it. And then I watched the second episode. And I was hooked. And having now seen the whole thing (except the movie), I love and adore it, I totally get all the hype and think it's utterly brilliant. Except the first episode. (To be analytical on why, I think it's that Bebop is so great because, aside from brilliant visuals and music, the writing is a great mix of comedy, drama, thematic philosophical stuff, character development, and is part fun and part serious. The first episode, though it has it's moments, is distinctly lacking in fun. It's a bit too dreary and grey.)

Character-wise, I really do love all the main characters - and some of the recurring and one-offs are brilliant, too. (That episode with Andy the Cowboy had me laughing in hysterics until I was crying - best comedy episode I've seen since Femio from Princess Tutu). That said, if asked at gunpoint, as much as I really do love Jet and definitely Spike, I have to say Faye and Ed are my favourites. Ed, because she's brilliant and hilarious and adorably quirky, and Faye because she just felt so emotionally real. And was quite kickass. She was selfish and screwed up and could be an utter bitch, but I felt for her and admired her so much.

I maybe should note, incidentally, that though I appreciated Spike's ongoing Vicious-Julia plot thing on an intellectual level - and that ending was freaking brilliant - on an emotional level I liked Ed and Faye's much more. (Incidentally, I may have had a mild dose of Spike/Faye shipping. Not enough to want to change anything, I just appreciated the whole early Han-Leia dynamic they had towards the end.)

One thing that stuck in my head a bit about Bebop - translation: when I couldn't get back to sleep this morning, I lay in bed thinking about it, ironically enough - was the thematic thing going on. The Brain Scratch episode is I think pretty much key to discussing this: You can't keep running from your past. Or to use the ongoing analogue, you have wake up from every dream. Though I agree entirely with this on a thematic sense - and as portrayed by a lot of characters, especially Faye and Jet, the way this theme was displayed at the end, by Ed and especially Spike had be rolling around going Hmmm.

Ed going back to her father did actually make a lot of sense, since there's definitely love there. But I'm a big fan of family-by-choice (to use the weeaboo term, Nakama), and it made me so sad to see that portrayed as a dream, and to be given up for blood family. Sad, but beautiful, and since it's hacker Ed, it wouldn't be hard for her to stay in contact with the Bebop.

No, the one that I really got puzzling on is Spike. Because, well, he regarded his entire life as a dream, and waking up for him meant, well, dying. (Yes, I know the creator refuses to confirm or deny. Spike bloody well died at the end. I will read good fic arguing otherwise, though). There's also the fact that, as Faye pointed out, Spike's a hypocrit: he acts all resigned to fate, tells people not to worry about the past, and yet he spends his entire time dwelling on it. Yeah, he needed to stop running and confront it so he could damn well get it out of his system. It's just combined with his resigned to death attitude, the message gets... weird.

I'd love to read some decent meta on this, by the way, to see if someone else's analysis helps de-twist my thoughts. Pity it's probably all lost to message boards from a decade ago. (Totally up for links, here).

But yeah, Bebop: Beautiful, wonderful, fabulous. And made me think, which is the mark of a good series. I also went and obtained the sountrack - yes, all of it - since it was awesome.


Detroit Metal City

Another short and less intellectual one, this time all about the lulz instead of the cute. Detroit Metal City is about the lead singer of a ridiculously OTT Satanic Metal Band. Who, when he's not in character is a vaguely effeminate and wussy Swedish pop liking "nice guy" who can't get a date and hates metal. I watched the 13 short anime episodes, and read as much of the manga as was on OneManga. Haven't seen the live action movie, but it has Gene Simmons, so I have to at some point.

This is basically the most insanely ridiculously over the top thing I have ever seen, but it's utterly hilarious (aside from a few embarrassment squick moments). Not for people who are offended by language or sexual references, but they're so overdone it's hard to be offended.

There might be some subtle jabs at the music industry, musicians, and the supposedly nice guys in there, but I just focused on the hilariously over-the-top ness, which is where the real fun lies.


Haruhi Suzumiya

Yes, I did comment on the anime - and books - a while back. But I finished reading the books, or at least those that have been released, this month, and had to say more, seeing as how last time I was still reading stuff from the TV show.

Anyhow, I confirmed my suspicion that 1. I like the books better when they aren't saying stuff I haven't already watched, and 2. Though the stand-alones are good for cuteness and character development, I like the big arc plot bits most.

Speaking of, what the actual fuck was going on in Book 9 with the alpha/beta split, and why isn't Book 10 out to explain that? I'm dying to know, and in the absence of knowing all sort of theorising is going on. Admittedly, most of my theories originate from the TVTropes Wiki, but that split seems to all but confirm that Kyon becomes the mysterious non-existant slider. Though that theory that Kyon is actually the god and he (consciously or not) endowed his powers on Haruhi is also looking mightily possible.

Eh. I want a new book. And a new anime series. Curse you, development hell.


Kuroshitsuji

I have absolutely no idea why I started reading this (there is an anime, but I haven't seen it yet), but it seems to have become another of my "Killing time by reading random manga" things. I can't say I am particularly invested in the fandom, but it has pretty art, utterly stunning costume designs, amusingly quirky minor characters, and a demonic ninja butler who can kill people with cutlery, which is totally a good reason to keep reading for now. Even the shota subtext amuses me, which is a surprise since that's normally a huge squick of mine. It helps that it's mostly played with a wink and nudge and is just subtext, as opposed to actual text.

I wish I was great at costumes and cosplay and all that, I'd love to do one of the costumes from this. Madame Red, maybe.


As is implied by the lengths, it's only really Baccano, and maybe Bebop that I'm thinking about getting actively involved in the fandoms of. (I'm already lurking around Haruhi-land) The others I am mostly content to just read and/or watch.

And that would be that. For now, anyhow. Next up to watch and read can be found on MyAnimeList. Or it might be some random thing I check out, who knows.

If you have any involvement in these fandoms, feel free to comment on my comments, drop me links to posts, meta, fic, icons, whatever about them. Or to recommend other things, or other fandoms, you think I might like and should check out.
Current Mood: satisfiedsatisfied

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:kiarasayre
Date:January 1st, 2009 01:47 pm (UTC)
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I'm really hoping that season two of Haruhi hasn't been permanently shuffled into Production Limbo - it's supposed to be based on Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, which uses like three plot devices that I'm just a sucker for. XD
[User Picture]
From:drakyndra
Date:January 1st, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC)
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I rather liked that one of the books, though admittedly because it hit both the plot arc stuff I liked, and it was new things happening.

But do spill on your plot device interests.
[User Picture]
From:xwingace
Date:January 1st, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
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It wouldn't be the first time that production company has shuffled projects into Production Limbo. Personally, much as I'd like a second series for Suzumiya Haruhi, I'm still waiting for the next series of Full Metal Panic...

XWA
[User Picture]
From:drakyndra
Date:January 2nd, 2009 02:43 am (UTC)
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I'm not actually familiar with that one.

But yeah, development hell is an evil, evil thing.
[User Picture]
From:xwingace
Date:January 1st, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
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I've been watching the Kuroshitsuji anime, and although it's sort of enjoyable, I've actually been getting a little annoyed at Sebastian's uber-uberness. And wondering how all this is supposed to fit together, because from what we've been shown so far, there doesn't seem to be much logic in why/how Sebastian serves Ciel, unless that subtext you were so happy about is very much text.

Also, the historical inaccuracies bother me more than they really should.

I still haven't managed to read the rest of the Suzumiya Haruhi novels I haven't read yet. I keep meaning to, and then when I open the page I find I just don't care. So, that's that then, I suppose. Back to waiting for the anime to arrive.

XWA
[User Picture]
From:drakyndra
Date:January 2nd, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
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Judging from the manga, which is a bit more explicit on things, Ciel's family was killed and he was tortured by a cult. And somehow he managed to summon up a demon, who promised to do his bidding so long as it got his soul at the end of his life.

Yes, he sold his soul for a demon butler.

Maybe you'll get more into the swing of Haruhi again once the anime's back. I know reading stuff seems more fun when you're really into it.
[User Picture]
From:everlasting_day
Date:January 1st, 2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
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Baccano! is pure awesome sauce. Fun and stylish but also shockingly gory at times, which gives it a really offbeat kind of atmosphere that I just loved. The way things all come together is just sublime.

DMC is the funniest anime ever, I think. At least in terms of what I've seen (Japanese humour is so hit and miss!) - no other Japanese cartoon has made me laugh as hard as it has. I can't wait for the live action movie. The actor who played L from the live action Death Note films is the lead, which is quite cool. And the trailer was pretty much perfect, so I'm pretty excited.

Cowboy Bebop is pure classic. There's not much I can say about it apart from the movie is totally brilliant and possibly my favourite Bebop-related thing. The action sequences, oh my, the action sequences...

Do you mind if I friend you on MAL?

Edited at 2009-01-01 04:47 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:drakyndra
Date:January 2nd, 2009 02:55 am (UTC)
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Feel free to friend me away, though don't expect me to do real much with it, aside from adding new things I've watched/read.

Baccano is just fab. I know a lot of people hate it when things get licenced and go popular, but Baccano could deserve a bit more popularity.

It truly is glorious hilarious crack. And I remember hearing that about the actor, which was rather brain-breaking.

I still haven't seen the movie. Either I get tinyteddyqueen to lend me it, or I drop down to the Friendly Neighbourhood Anime Store of Dubious Legality.
[User Picture]
From:everlasting_day
Date:January 2nd, 2009 12:24 pm (UTC)
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Oh, that's exactly what I do with it as well, although I have a kind of mild OCD with these sort of listing websites.

I've never understood the whole "baaaaww it's been licenced" mentality with some anime fans. I jumped for joy when I heard Baccano! had been licenced simply because it'd mean physically owning it on DVD, especially considering how not great the TV rips for it were. And I mean, who cares if something gets popular? Does it really matter? I just don't get it.

I could rave about the Bebop movie all day, I really could. God knows it'd be more than worth a visit to the trusty Friendly Neighbourhood Anime Store of Dubious Legality.
[User Picture]
From:drakyndra
Date:January 2nd, 2009 12:33 pm (UTC)
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I can understand worries about the quality of the dub, but beyond that... yeah, stupid. And I'd like to be able to own a copy, too.

Well, I shall have to toddle down there soonish, anyhow. Even if tinyteddyqueen and I concluded that the reason everything there is so ridiculously cheap is 'cos it's all imported from ...sources in China.
From:khallandra
Date:January 1st, 2009 10:23 pm (UTC)
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Cowboy Bebop was very good, the first few episodes seemed to lack a point but once they started the background stories and the main arc it got better. I liked Faye and Jet the best and my fav episode is the mushroom one ;)
But I'm always going to be a much bigger fan of Samurai Champloo though =). More cause I like swords more than guns ;) Watching Outlaw Star at the moment which has a Bebop vibe

So joining that AnimeList thingie - looks like a great site to sort out what I have watched and get recs ;)
[User Picture]
From:drakyndra
Date:January 2nd, 2009 02:45 am (UTC)
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The mushroom one is classic, totally agreed. Though Andy the cowboy is my favourite funny one.

And Champloo is one of the things I will be watching next, since I picked the box set up cheap from a con a while back.

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