Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Wow it’s been a long time since I last updated. With school, Christmas Break at home, and a bout of laziness, I honestly just haven’t felt like writing anything for quite some time. So I’m just going to put up this very brief post, to grade some of the anime I’ve been watching lately (with no commentary). Maybe, someday, I’ll feel like posting more stuff lol. So here we go:

1. Kami-sama no Memo-chou

Kami-sama no Memo-chou

Grade: B+

2. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha

Grade: B+

3. No. 6

No. 6

Grade: B

4. Mahou Shoujo Tai Arusu

Mahou Shoujo Tai Arusu

Grade: A

5. Elf Princess Rane

Elf Princess Rane

Grade: B-

6. Bakemonogatari

Bakemonogatari

Grade: A-

7. Coyote Ragtime Show

Coyote Ragtime Show

Grade: B+

8. Hanasaku Iroha

Hanasaku Iroha

Grade: A

9. Night Raid 1931

Night Raid 1931

Grade: B-

10. Aria the Animation

Aria the Animation

Grade: A+

11. Le Chevalier d’Eon

Le Chevalier D'Eon

Grade: A

12. Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

Grade: A-

13. Un-Go

Un-Go

Grade: B

14. Mawaru Penguindrum

Mawaru Penguindrum

Grade: A+

15. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

Grade: A

16. Le Portrait de Petit Cossette

Le Portrait de Petit Cossette

Grade: C+

17. Redline

Redline

Grade: A

So there you have it. I have no clue when I’ll post again. Eventually. Maybe. So until then. Or not.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Ok, so let’s get one thing straight about me: I do not like to spend my money. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy buying things, but every dollar–really, every penny–I shell out is almost always an excruciating battle for me. This is not because I have no money, nor is it because I think that the things I wish to own are not worth what I would need to spend in order to acquire them. It is simply this sort of frugal/stubbornness that results in me dragging my feet (for months, if not years) before purchasing the things that I want.

Now…this is not necessarily a bad thing. By being frugal, I am increasing my chances of avoiding financial problems later on in life. At the same time, though, I do believe it is a good thing to enjoy your money once in awhile. After all, you’ve worked hard for the money you’ve earned. And so if you’re able to afford the things you want after taking care of your responsibilities, by all means, treat yourself.

And I do treat myself. My anime/manga collection is sizable enough to prove that my money does sometimes see the light of day after being deposited into my bank. And when it comes to those things that I would regret NOT purchasing, I am much quicker to lay my money down. The thing is, though, those items that I would be so quick to lay my money down for are far and few between. It is much more common for me to have a gigantic list of items that I would eventually like to own, but feel no need to rush out and buy right away.

I would say that, with most things, this attitude is probably a good thing. Where the problem comes in is that, especially in this day and age, and especially in the anime/manga/video game world, one often has to buy something sooner than later because it might not be around for very long. Ten years ago, this would not have been the case. But now with companies bankrupting left and right and the survivors doing their darndest to keep up with all the newest trends so that they can keep their old customers and draw in new ones…there is no guarantee that the DVD set or graphic novel series you want will be around a year or two from now. Sure, you’ll still be able to buy it through websites like Amazon and Ebay, but you might wind up shelling out twice or thrice as much as you would have if you’d just gone ahead and purchased it when the company was selling it.

So anyways…I’m meandering from the original purpose of my post a bit. The item I am currently trying to decide whether to purchase or not is the Sony PS3. There is no doubt in my mind that I want it, and there are plenty of games I know I would enjoy playing on it. So…whether or not I would enjoy my purchase is not at all an issue. What IS an issue is the fact that I’m in graduate school and, as such, have little to no life outside of what my classes and work dictate. Because of this, I am concerned that if I buy this console right now (or a couple of months from now), that it will simply lay there next to my television gathering dust.

Now…let’s say I wait until graduate school is finished…which really isn’t that far away…if all goes well, I’ll be done by the end of this spring. Whoo! And really, this is not such a bad idea…I’d be done with school and have more time to play games. At the same time, though, I might not, since I will probably be spending ¬†a lot of my time looking desperately for a job. And then on top of everything else, I like to spend a lot of what free time I do have with my boyfriend, family, and friends. Plus, I have a lot of other hobbies…reading, writing, watching anime, and the list goes on. I’ve already got so much stuff occupying my time, and am sure that more will show up to take more of my time in the future, that I’m really wondering if I should even let this whole time thing be an issue.

And then of course there’s the fact that if I give Sony a couple more years, they’re probably going to be announcing the PS4. This is the least of my concerns, though, considering I’ve been wanting a PS3 since it first came out and, five years later, am still trying to decide whether or not to break down and buy one. ’cause really…whether the PS4 comes out next year or five years from now on, chances are that IF I even buy one, it’ll take me five years after its release to actually seriously consider doing so.

So what should I do? Do I buy it sooner? Later? Never? The prices have dropped, so that’s another attractive feature. It’s just a matter of deciding whether or not it’s really worth purchasing…oh the dilemma. ūüėõ

Read Full Post »

Okay, since I’m too lazy to write Part 2 of my “Not a Top Ten List” post right now, I’ve decided to instead write a little blurb on the anime I’m following this season. So here we go for my “Currently Watching” list:

1. Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Looks exactly like what you’d expect from your typical mahou shoujo anime, doesn’t it? Cute mascot, rainbows, and sparkles everywhere, right? Don’t kid yourself.

 

Same girls, more fitting art style...

Nightmare-inducing Monsters: It's like Picasso met Salvador Dali met Tim Burton

Yes, that is blood. And no, not the monster's.

The best way to describe Puella Magi Madoka Magica is to say that it is a series that takes the mahou shoujo genre and completely subverts it. It starts off with all the fixings that one would expect to find in shows like Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Tokyo Mew Mew, Pretty Cure, and so on…and then it twists those tropes into something ugly, deeply disturbing, and horrendously AWESOME. As I made known in my previous post, I’m a huge fan of the shoujo genre, particularly the mahou shoujo segment of it. It’s what got me into anime, kept me into anime, and continues to greatly entertain me to this day. What I also love…whether it’s in books, movies, anime, or something else…are stories that take¬†clich√©s and turn them on their heads. Not only does Madoka turn the mahou shoujo genre on its head…it does it very well. Apparently, the script writer and series composer, Gen Urobuchi, has a reputation for creating darker anime. At least, that’s what I gather from what many people have said about him. I had never heard of him until now…never watched any of his previous series. But now that I’ve seen this, I may have to remedy that…

 

2. Fractale

Fractale

Of all the anime I was anticipating from this season, Fractale was the one I looked forward to the most. Madoka was a close second, but Fractale beat it out. I love a good adventure stories, and Fractale looked like an anime that would fulfill what every good adventure story should have. I’m also a big fan of anime that steer away from the big eyes, small mouth art style. Shows like Monster, Paranoia Agent, and Last Exile that embrace a more realistic art style are very attractive to me. And while the above image does show two girls with blue hair, the designs remain very¬†reminiscent of that art style I like. (It becomes even more-so that way once you watch the actual anime, as the girls’ hair is not blue at all!) Fractale also has the potential to be a deep story, without being overbearing. It feels light-hearted and yet it touches on issues that are very relevant, ringing deeply with humans today: the importance of human contact, communication, and so on. I will be very curious to see how this show turns out. I predict Madoka will give Fractale a run for its money when it comes to which show will turn out to be my favorite of the season. But we will just have to see whether or not the one series that truly caught my eye will maintain it until the very end.

 

3. Level E

Level E, featuring Prince Baka

This winter is, thus far, proving to be a fantastic season for anime this year. Another show that has stepped up to the plate as a potential favorite is Level E, an incredibly witty and playful comedic sci-fi. I love a good comedy, and Level E is an excellent one. It is silly, yet intelligent, frequently leaving me chuckling, if not rolling on the floor with tears streaming down my face from outright laughter. Be forewarned, this is not a show you want to watch for a deep and intricate plot. If that’s what you’re expecting, you will be disappointed.¬†At this point in time, Level E has very little plot, but it really doesn’t need one. This is more of an entertaining snapshot, showing the many ways that Prince Baka (yes, that is his real name) can cause trouble for others. So far, it is divided into segments. The first three episodes are an introduction to Prince Baka, that helps viewers to understand just what kind of a person he really is. Following that is a single episode that is completely stand-alone. And currently, it is in its next “arc,” showing how Prince Baka makes trouble for a bunch of elementary school kids. It is immensely entertaining and absolutely hilarious…definitely worth watching if you just need to give your brain a break.

4. Gosick

Gosick

Much like Level E, Gosick is not a series I expect a deep plot from. It will probably develop a semi-solid story in the latter half of the show, but otherwise, this is another anime utilizing the arc-pattern. Not without reason, Gosick has been compared to the classic series of stories, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This is an anime, with detective genre leanings, following the cases that a young man and his extremely intelligent friend in which they frequently find themselves caught. It is a very simple show…it does not try hard at all. Cases are presented and they are solved, the puzzles (which are so far quite easy to figure out) being laid out for observation in the end. It’s like the popular crime shows that flood the TV today. There’s a case, everything falls unrealistically into place, and the problem is solved by the end of the hour (except in those occasional two-episode specials).¬†Do not watch Gosick for the plot or for the cases…they’re entertaining much in the way that fluffy cotton candy is a tasty, but¬†substance-less¬†treat. Gosick is a show that you want to watch for the art and the character interactions. Victorique and Kujo are an immensely entertaining pair, much like Sherlock and Watson, and they live in Victorian Europe, resulting in beautiful artwork that is easy on the eyes. I doubt this will be a contender for my favorite series of the season, but the same qualities that prevent it from being this winter’s star show are also what will keep me hooked and entertained from beginning to end.

 

Alrighty, that’s it for today. I’ll eventually get around to writing Part 2 of my Top Ten List. Until next time! ūüôā

Read Full Post »

I hate top ten lists. Not because I don’t think they’re fun to read, create, and what not…but because I have so much trouble choosing only ten favorites, whether it’s for books, movies, anime, and so on. Even when I can figure out which ten to squeeze into that list, I have to place them in order from favorite to least favorite, and that’s just a whole ‘nother bear to wrestle with. So, rather than creating a top ten list, I’m simply going to talk about several of my favorite anime and manga series. They will be in no particular order, though I will indicate if I have a particular interest in a series or author. So here we go…

To give you an idea of what this will probably look like, I’m a big fan of the shoujo genre. Yes, all of those sparkly, colorful comics full of ridiculously¬†disproportioned¬†eyes, sickly sweet romance, and heart-withering happily ever afters found in places like Ribon magazine tend to find my favor. Before you say “shoot, not another one of these,” though, I want to reassure you that this list will not consist entirely of these blindingly-bright manga and anime. While it may show some leanings towards that genre, I can reassure you that after a lifetime of watching anime and reading manga, I have acquired a taste for a wide variety of series. In fact, my interest in such a wide variety is one of the few things I pride myself a tiny bit on, though I realize I probably shouldn’t. In the end, I suppose you’ll just have to see for yourself now, won’t you?

1. My introduction to anime…Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon

Technically I’d been watching anime long before I was introduced to this show, but Sailor Moon is what I have always considered to be the series that really got me seriously interested in Japanese entertainment. Though I do not consider it a must-see or a favorite because of its incredible literary qualities, it is certainly (to me) a classic, and so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

2. CLAMP

Cardcaptor Sakura, Magic Knight Rayearth, and Chobits

Following on the heels of Sailor Moon came Cardcaptor Sakura, a series that would introduce me to the famous manga group known as CLAMP. They would become one of my favorite authors and artists of all time. One of the great things about CLAMP is the diversity of their titles. Though most of them fall into the fantasy category, CLAMP has created such a wide variety of series, that just about any audience would probably find at least one title that appeals to them.

3. The Sci-Fi Era: Phase 1

Neon Genesis Evangelion, Martian Successor Nadesico, Trigun, and Cowboy Bebop

After enjoying several more of my narrow shoujo slices of anime pie, a friend was kind enough to open my eyes to the much bigger anime world that I was missing. And thus, I would become interested in what would be my first phase of sci-fi anime. Starting with the classic Neon Genesis Evangelion, I would work my way through pretty much every non-Gundam/Macross/Robotech type sci-fi anime that America had to offer.

4. Hayao Miyazaki

 

Princess Mononoke, Castle in the Sky, Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, and My Neighbor Totoro

Once I realized just how big the world of anime really was, nothing could stop me from exploring it from one end to the next. On my journey, Japan’s Walt Disney, Hayao Miyazaki, would be one of the greatest directors I would ever find. Starting with the famed Princess Mononoke, I would continue watching his films as I found them over the years. And though there are many more I have yet to see, I am far from over Miyazaki and so will continue watching his films.

5. The Slayers

 

The Slayers

Slayers is the anime I consider my first risk. Looking back, it wasn’t a big risk…but at the time for me, it really was. All of the anime I had watched up to this point were, except for Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura, recommended to me by friends. Slayers would be the first anime I would purchase without knowing anything about it, besides the few, brief reviews I read online. Keep in mind, this was still during the time when the average cost of an anime boxset was around $100. And for a ninth grader to spend $100 on one thing that they’re not even sure if they’ll like is a pretty big deal. Fortunately, I didn’t just like The Slayers…I loved it. I would go on to collect the next two seasons of this wonderful and hilarious fantasy series that served as proof to me that risks are sometimes worth taking.

6. Revolutionary Girl Utena

 

Revolutionary Girl Utena

Revolutionary Girl Utena is a shoujo with some very typical shoujo elements (i.e. sparkles, magical transformations, boys that look like girls, etc.), but it is not your typical shoujo. Though there are many series with female protagonists taking on the warrior role,¬†Utena takes it to another level. Here we have a female protagonist who rejects social norms, wearing the boy’s school uniform and dreaming of one day becoming a prince. (Yes, prince, not princess.) Utena was the tomboy I used to fancy myself being, and yet she never completely abandons her feminine side. She was a strong female, one that I could look up to. In addition to a wonderful protagonist, Utena is a series that has many things going for it. An incredible artistic series, Utena is one of the first shows I watched that actually employed suggestion, symbolism, and other very literary techniques. I remember being impressed because, despite the very dark and mature nature of Utena‘s content, the audience is never explicitly shown much of what is going on. They see enough snippets of what is happening in order to piece it together by themselves, but the full image is never directly presented. And as somebody who does not enjoy anime that is full of nudity and sexual content, this was ideal. I got the point, and I got it better through these puzzle pieces than I ever would have if they’d blatantly shown me what occurred. One of the downsides to Utena (for me) were its tendencies towards shoujo-ai. I am not a fan of shoujo- or shonen-ai, much less their more explicit counterparts. However, after seeing Utena and a few series, I find that I can stomach it as long as it is not a focal point in the story. The main tv series of Utena only suggested such things and so it was bearable. Its manga adaptation suggested even less. The movie, on the other hand, indulged in the forbidden romantic relationship between the female protagonists and so I have never been able to truly enjoy the theatrical film (though it is incredibly beautiful and worth watching simply for the artistic quality):

 

One of the most beautiful scenes from the Utena movie

Admittedly, Utena is now over a decade old and, thus, a bit dated. Newcomers to anime would probably find it a difficult show to watch. However, this truly is one of the greats, and most certainly a favorite of mine.

7. Yoshitoshi ABe and the Weird

 

Serial Experiments Lain and Haibane Renmei

Around the same time that I was watching shows like Neon Genesis Evangelion, the friend who introduced me to sci-fi anime also got me into a series that is infamous for its weirdness: Serial Experiments Lain. I remember when we first started watching it, I was warned to take my time. Trying to watch it all in one sitting was apparently a bad idea. After watching it, I could understand why. Lain is an incredibly unique anime that is abstract, confusing, and…well…weird. It is, however, an excellent anime that, if you can get past the fact that it doesn’t always make sense, is worth watching. This would be an anime that also got me into such shows as Boogiepop Phantom and Paranoia Agent (neither pictured above), more series that would fall into the “excellently strange” category.

To be honest, Haibane Renmei, the next Yoshitoshi ABe series I watched, deserves a category of its own. It is neither confusing nor weird in the same sense as Lain (not by a long shot), but it has all of the qualities that one comes to expect in an ABe series. To be blunt, Haibane Renmei is simply beautiful. It is a wonderful series that truly taps into the potential of what anime can be, and it does it well. Though I said I wouldn’t be able to put together a top ten list,¬†I can tell you without a doubt that Haibane Renmei would be on it. And it would be on it towards the top.

8. Arina Tanemura

 

Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, Full Moon wo Sagashite, Time Stranger Kyoko, and The Gentlemen's Alliance Cross

Today, I will end part one of my favorites list with my all-time favorite manga artist, Arina Tanemura. As you can see from the pictures, Tanemura is one of the most famous artists (if not the most famous artist)¬†of the infamous shoujo genre, complete with sparkles, giant eyes, and all of the other fixings. I could rant and rave to you all day long about why I love Tanemura and all (yes all) of her many works, but to be truthful, it would not give you an accurate depiction of her as an artist or author. For, though I do recognize that some of her series are better than others, as one of her fans (a term I do not use lightly), my opinion is biased to the point that I love every single work she has ever created. If I were to choose a favorite of her series, I would not hesitate to pick Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne. Not only was it the first series of hers I ever read, but it is also one of her best (though I’m sure some of you would disagree with me). I love her art style, characters, stories, and so on, and have yet to tire of it.

 

Alright, that’s it for today. I will continue the other half of the list on another day. Until then!

Read Full Post »

And so it begins…

Hello to you people with so much time and so little to do that you’re actually reading this. If you’ve walked in here by mistake, you’ll find the exit at the top-right corner of your screen. For those of you who did not walk in here by mistake but are beginning to think you have, same to you. And for the rest of you who continue to read despite my lame attempts at humor…welcome.

So what, exactly, is this “Anime Atelier”? To be perfectly honest, I have not a clue. It’s very possible that this is soon to be nothing more than a statistic, joining the throngs of those blogs created and then abandoned by individuals who lose interest after a week. Supposing that such is not to be the case, then what I would like to do with the Atelier is to make it a place where I can post news, reviews, ramblings, and so on…primarily about anime and manga, but probably whatever other random topics occur to me as well. In other words, if all goes well, it’ll turn into a nice little information melting pot that favors those topics related to anime and manga.

To give you a little bit of information about myself…I am currently a graduate student, balancing not one, but two master’s programs simultaneously. The first in in English, which I will be finishing shortly, and the second in Library Sciences, which (if all goes well) should be completed not too much later. Though I am currently pursuing becoming a librarian, it is my lifelong dream to become an author, particularly for adolescents who enjoy fantasy. That, of course, is probably just a pipe dream, much like the one so many young people have when they run away to Hollywood to become movie stars. Despite that fact, it is a goal I will work towards until the day I die…and maybe, just maybe, if things turn out right, I will one day see my book(s) on store shelves.

A final string of information about myself that is actually half-way relevant to this Atelier: I have consciously been a fan of anime and manga since I was in the fifth grade…so roughly a decade and a half. Unconsciously, though, I’ve apparently been a fan of at least the art style since I was old enough to watch television. Basically, what I mean to say is that I have had a deep interest in anime and manga for quite a long time (though, admittedly, not nearly as long as some people). What this means, though, is that I have quite an expansive store of knowledge when it comes to this subject. Even if I don’t know something off the top of my head, I certainly know where to find it. Which is why I became interested in starting this Atelier thing to begin with…I would like to give people another source of information…so feel free to ask your questions and, to the best of my abilities, I will answer them.

Promises I will not make:

  1. I will not promise to answer your questions.
  2. I will not promise to post every day. Or every week. Or even every year. I will post when I post and that is all.
  3. If I think of any more promises, I will add to this list. But I won’t promise to do so. ūüôā

Alright, I’m finished. I don’t feel like writing anymore. So, uh…until next time. Maybe.

Read Full Post »