Tag Archives: anime

Little Witch Academia

Little Witch Academia = Friendship + Magic

Little Witch Academia is a cute little anime about kids going to witch school.  The heroine in this story is the underdog.  She falls asleep in class, she doesn’t have much witch potential, and the other kids make fun of her obsession with Shiny Chariot (who is considered to be a gimmicky witch).  On top of that, the heroine is loudmouthed and brash.  But at the end of the day, her heart is in the right place and she stands by her friends.  The combination of her flaws and strengths make her a more realistic and relatable character.  While the animation style fits a children’s show, Little Witch Academia has far more charm and depth than your typical fare.

You can watch the first episode on Youtube and there’s a Kickstarter for the second episode.  Check it out!

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When fansubs go wrong

It’s time to waste time on the Internet.  Check out this webpage on fansubbing that has gone horribly wrong:  http://nbnl.globalwhelming.com/2008/11/27/pictures-when-anime-fansubs-translations-goes-wrong/ (somewhat NSFW)

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Fansubs versus official subs/dubs

Maybe I’m crazy, but I tend to prefer subtitling done by fans rather than the official professional subtitles (or dubs).  With fansubs, there are often additional subtitles (translation notes) that explain any odd aspects of Japanese culture.  For example, the Macross fansub I watched points out that Gepelnitch is a dude.  Official subs/dubs on the other hand try to gloss over any cultural oddities and try to Americanize everything.  I thought for a long time that Frieza from Dragonball Z was female.  I prefer fansubs because Japanese culture is weird and they explain some of that to me.  If some anime character is a trap, I want to know about it.

For a totally different viewpoint, watch the following series on everything that is wrong with fansubs:

For the most part, I agree that there are many things wrong about fansubs.  But I do like learning about things through translation notes (though more than 2 per episode is too much).  And I do find an endearing quality to poorly-done fansubs with English that doesn’t read right.  Sometimes they’re bad and I can appreciate poor execution.  That’s just me.  If you have a different opinion, post a comment.

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Fan service: no thanks…

I recently watched the first several episodes of Gantz.  I found it pretty offensive… and that’s saying a lot.  The problem I have with fan service is (A) I feel creepy watching it and (B) it usually detracts from the work.  In Gantz, the fan service is really awful.  Here are some examples:

  1. One of the characters (Kei Kishimoto) is continually referred to as “Big Tits”, either jokingly or in a derogatory way.  Clearly degrading.
  2. There is more than one instance where men are trying to rape her.  Of course, this is an opportunity to show her in various states of undress.
  3. The dog in this series practically rapes her by licking her crotch area.
  4. Kurono, one of the other main protagonists, gropes her breasts.  She says no to him.  In the morning, he gropes her a second time.  There’s a phrase for this: sexual assault.

In many cases, it’s like the creators get lazy and think of really contrived situations just to throw in more fan service.  The canine rape has nothing to do with the themes in Gantz or its plot whatsoever.  I really don’t understand the need for random interludes of a girl being sexually violated.  It’s like going to McDonald’s and being asked: “Would you like boobies with that?”  No, no I would not like boobies with that.

And sometimes I feel that fan service feels like something worse than a really awful product placement.  In the example of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, the major has a weird fetish uniform.  It’s completely out of place… more out of place than reboot Spiderman using Microsoft Bing.

Bottom line

No.  Just… no.

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Review: Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi

Here’s everything that is wrong with Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi in 30 or so seconds:

Ok, so I may not be entirely fair to this series.  Enishi is season 2 to the original anime series.  Apparently the first few episodes of season 1 is a decent romance story.  Unfortunately, the anime series then takes a turn and becomes the bastard lovechild of a romance story (presumably for female appeal) and a harem comedy (presumably for male appeal).  A harem comedy is a Japanese “genre” where there is a male character surrounded by multiple female characters.  The word harem is slightly misleading for me because to me harem implies that there is a male sleeping with multiple women (which is not the case with that sort of anime).  And harem is derogatory as it reflects North American views that look down upon other cultures that are weird because not all of them are monogamous.  But it is ok for men to sleep with multiple sex objects… it’s just not cool to get married to more than one of them.  Yo, got it!

Anyways, in the harem comedy part of Ai Yori Aoshi, the male character is living with his love interest Aoi, her friends (all of which “happen” to be attractive), a voluptuous maid, and a mistress who manages the house.  Ok.

There is plenty of fan service (shots or scenes inserted to please the fans)… in this case they are plenty of gratuitous upskirt shots, panty shots, nude shots (but the women are nippleless so this DVD is supposedly 13+), etc.  The comedy part of harem comedy comes about because the characters do “funny” things.  Aoi’s American friend harasses the other girls by grabbing their breasts… this supposedly fits her American stereotype because that is what American girls do.  Right.  But perhaps I am missing something about Japanese culture???  In an episode of Pokemon that is banned in the US, James cross-dresses as a woman and makes fun of Misty’s smaller chest size.

So what it comes down to is this: I don’t claim to understand Japanese culture.  It is weird.  Perhaps I am misrepresenting it.  I haven’t heard of the phrases fan service or harem comedy until researching this anime series.  So next week, I will try to do a better job of understanding Japanese culture and see if there is something redeeming about the first few episodes of this series (which I have not yet seen).  To be continued…

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Bicycles and Soul Eater review

Before starting the review, let me tell you something about bicycles.

  1. Make sure that the brakes work properly.
  2. Do not go crazy fast down a hill if there are people on the same path at the bottom.
  3. Little girls are bad at dodging fast bikes going down a hill.  True story.  (And yes, I am terrible person… so let’s never again mention the time I ran over a little girl with my bike.)

Ok, on with the review.

Soul Eater is an anime series where the heroes must kill bad guys and eat their souls.  It’s like the better, cooler version of Harry Potter.  The main protagonists go to the “Death Weapon Meister Academy” where they learn to improve their powers and to defeat the bad guys.  Like real school, except way better. But unlike HP (it stands for Harry Potter dammit), it’s way less emo and the writing is very funny.

You can watch some of the episodes on Youtube.  Here is the official channel by Funimation: http://youtu.be/n0nxQXTdu9c

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[BLANK] Anime

Since I can’t keep my online posting to myself, here’s my response to a post on the following Kotaku thread, that brought up how a lot of anime plots are the same: http://ca.kotaku.com/5559926/resident-evil-creator-jrpgs-were-never-popular-in-the-west

@jay13x: Just a quick response to your anime comment; what I like about anime is that there is a show that address EVERY subject matter (fantasy, sci-fi, cooking, sports, playing board games, high school, the work world, etc, basically, something for everyone).

But yes, when you break it down, too many of the key plots are exactly the same. See how many series you can fill in the blanks with these:

– main character wants to be the best at [blank] and goes on a journey challenging various people at [blank] and learning about friendship.

– lone traveler sets out on a journey to [blank], picks up a band of characters / friends along the way, we gradually find out the character’s true intentions, they all stick together and follow through in saving the [blank]

– main character gains the abilities of [blank] and with the help of their new mentor/friend, must defeat many [blanks] that are popping up all over the city.

and finally,

– [blank] happens, then there’s a tournament.

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