The wheels are set in motion: this is the last post for this blog before I launch my new one proper. Everyone who has read, commented or lurked over the past two and a half years has my deepest thanks; all I ask is update your RSS feed subscriptions to those of my new one when I’ve published some more posts and the RSS plugin’s cache straightens itself out and updates. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be taking a short break from posting to spend time relaxing with my family over christmas and work on the old viewing backlog; I’ll probably still lurk around on other people’s blogs and AB IRC but while the posts here won’t be deleted or anything, there won’t be any more updates here.
Time to sit back and take a quick break
There are already several good reasons to come back to blogging next month, not least some really interesting things recently announced that I think are well worth looking forward to, and will give plenty to write about. I can’t not write it seems, so here are some of the things that will kick the latest bout of Hiatus Disease out into the ether where it belongs.
I find myself watching each new episode of Eve no Jikan multiple times, letting myself become immersed in its world and absorbing as many of the plot points and details as I can. For most series, when there’s a batch of episodes on one DVD disc or when a new episode is available to view on a weekly basis, it’s as though it cheapens the experience in comparison with the way I watch this show. I think I take too much anime for granted in a way but here there are fifteen short minutes then that’s it for another couple of months; even leaving its other merits out of the equation I can’t help but try to squeeze the last drop of entertainment value out of each outing and savour every second.
I’m not posting this pic to crack an “Are those real?” gag: notice the CODE:LIFE book. Then crack an “Are those real?” gag
The story takes a less eventful course in this episode, most scenes taking place in the Time of Eve cafÃ©. This time it’s all about the Koji and Rina of this episodes title: that romantic couple who often keep themselves to themselves in a secluded corner. In the two previous episodes I was looking forward to seeing how EnJ portrays romantic relationships like this in a worldview that makes human and android indistinguishable; needless to say it once again doesn’t disappoint. Spoilers after the jump folks.
Hiatus Disease is one of the biggest causes of blog death although there is a great deal of contention regarding the best course of treatment. Personally I think it’s more important to address the underlying causes and put them right before they get to become a problem: getting your blogging mojo back is harder than trying to stop losing it in the first place. I’ve been watching a lot of anime recently and I’ve also been packing in a fair amount of overtime at work (I have a sizeable overdraft and some important things to save up for) so writing the sort of post that appears here is becoming more difficult than ever.
I believe the caption reads “pulling another all-nighter”, which is something I really can’t do any more
It might seem a bit out of the blue to say “I might stop posting on my regular blog,” in the same way that a couple’s divorce is unexpected when they never seemed to row about anything. This isn’t really inspired by other bloggers’ bouts of hiatus disease either as far as I can tell – it’s mostly spurred on by my own reasons. There are of course some sad cases that make me worried though…realising your own mortality I guess. KT, Jeff Lawson and IKnight, three of my favourite bloggers, have experienced burnout and plenty of others have fallen by the wayside too. I’m now at a bit of a crossroads where I need to do something before something disasterous happens to my blogging too.
I know I’ve used the â€˜diamond fashioned from broken glassâ€™ analogy before (it was for ef-a Tale of Memories I believe) but it applies equally to Kurozuka. The word in the blogosphere is that the original manga is a bit trashy so if this is indeed the case the creative team behind the anime adaptation must have had their work cut out in taking the story from paper to screen without it sucking in the process. I haven’t read the manga yet but by the looks of things they’ve succeeded: plenty of potential has already been squeezed out of a simple premise so it turns out that a straightforward tale of vampires, corporate conspiracies and a romance that spans the centuries is proving to be quite something.
That is not to say that Kurozuka doesn’t go overboard with the violence on occasion – I’m in agreement with Coburn that it’s gratuitous to the point of being sadistic at times and doesn’t need to be as graphic to get its point across – but I suspect that this is what made up the meat of the source material. Style over substance is another favourite term that gets pinned to shows like this but when it’s one of the more high-budget Madhouse pieces the style alone is enough to make it worth your time. And it has vampires in it.
I splashed out on Solanin on recommendation and the fact that I was so impressed with Inio Asano’s more recent Nijigahara Holograph but to my surprise they’re actually pretty different. Apart from the general themes of young people’s alienation in today’s society and an examination of how relationships between friends can shape the course of their lives, Solanin is quite a departure from the mind-bending experience that was Nijigahara Holograph but ultimately it was actually the more enjoyable of the two for me.
…Holograph is a labyrinthine, somewhat supernatural piece that came off like a rewrite of Donnie Darko by David Lynch, only even better; Solanin is I guess a slice-of-life story but the impression it’s left on me makes me feel as though I’d do it a disservice by merely calling it ‘just a SoL manga’. The exquisite way in which the lives of the characters are portrayed gives me a feeling that left me speechless for some time afterwards; the truth is, when I look at these people I might as well be staring into a mirror.
It’s with no small amount of relief that I’ve completed the epic disappointment that was Allison to Lillia. I feel as though the characters are now put out of their misery: when they are so lively and engaging it feels like an act of cruelty to even watch them go through such an embarrassment of a storyline. Another way of looking at is is that when I eventually reach the end of Code Geass I can sit back with the final episode, safe in the knowledge that I’ve already experienced true trainwreck television. In a very literal sense.
“Oh rly?” “Yes, rly.” “No way!”
Since I haven’t after all actually finished Geass the termÂ â€˜trainwreckâ€™ is little more than an over-used buzzword; at this point though I can still understand the feeling of disappointment the R2 haters among you must have felt. On the plus side it means I’m more likely to enjoy Lelouch’s final outing since, with the final two arcs of Lillia taken into account, it probably can’t be any worse than what I subjected myself to this week. How did such a promising show go so wrong?
At the time of writing I’m only four episodes into Legend of the Galactic Heroes, which isn’t far at all considering the sheer length of the series as a whole. I’ve promised myself that I’ll take it back off my on-hold list when I’m finished with Tytania though because this is providing a sort-of practice run in the particular brand of space opera and its SRS BSNS approach to storytelling. This is indeed galactic warfare as serious business, although I’m finding Tytania to be a little less straight-faced than its older cousin.
For starters the character who I’m guessing is the hero of the piece is a bit of a comedic one. Unlike the members of the Tytania clan he isn’t a stuffy po-faced aristocrat in a ridiculous outfit: when he was going into battle he preferred bubblegum over wine or Manly Tea and was willing to try an unconventional tactic that not even Ariabart could ignore. This seems to be a story of a young upstart bringing down the biggest military power in the galaxy simply through independent thinking, which makes it hilarious – in the sense of irony rather than that of LOL slapstick. Luke Skywalker has nothing on this guy.
The broadcast hiatus held back my appraisal of the series as far as ep 13 but after getting that far I was all settled for one of my usual â€˜halfway thoughtsâ€™ type of posts. Except episode 14 gave the same effect as the book you can’t put down; the shocking events towards the end also gave a strong feeling of one chapter closing and another opening, so that’s where I stand right now. Akiyuki’s journey seems to have drawn him in full circle, back to Senten and back to his family and friends – it seems to be that Akiyuki is on a journey to find his place in his world, with the will of the hiruko acting as a catalyst for that in a literal and metaphorical sense (in that it is probably seeking a meaning to its existence too).
This is either a new type of lava lamp therapy or an important plot point that will crop up later on. My money is on the latter
I’m detecting a theme explored before in Eureka Seven here: namely the idea that war changes lives as well as ends them and draws out allegiances, prejudices and hidden feelings that would never have come to light otherwise. I guess that for the heroes like Akiyuki who protect who and what is important to them, a conflict brings out the best in them. Similarly, for the likes of Furuichi it can bring out the worst of them instead. Of course, the importance of family is a pervading theme of Xam’d but interestingly it was its companion theme, that of friendship, that was portrayed so powerfully at this point of the story as well.
Yep, you have Lolikit to blame for this post. Like, totally. It was an interesting exercise in watching something outside of my own comfort zone, at least – after all, â€˜Canadian ghost figure skating animuâ€™ is a bit outside my usual viewing, as is any sort of TV entertainment centred around sports. Of course, the concept behind Ginban Kaleidoscope isn’t just about ice skating: it’s about the ghost of a Canadian stunt pilot who possesses the body of an ice skater. Yeah.
I’m not sure why but Tazusa looks so cute in this pose
To be fair the premise is possibly the most left-field and odd that I’ve had the fortune to come across so far, which makes it both interesting and potentially offputting. Would I have watched it as it aired, knowing how the story starts? I’ll admit that I probably wouldn’t have. Which is a bit of a shame because once I got past the initial “You what?!” reaction at the initial setup, it was quite a lot of fun. Admittedly there are one or two things that drag it down from the heights of greatness, but in terms of light-hearted disposable entertainment I was genuinely pleasantly surprised. Not bad for a semi-serious exchange of smart-ass comments on IRC, I think you’ll agree.
There’s a reason why I haven’t had chance to catch up on posting or replying to comments in the past couple of days: I met up with the UK-A crew for a weekend of socialising (for a change!) and cinematic viewing at the 22nd Leeds International Film Festival. There were some great pieces of J-cinema on offer this year (I missed L: Change the World because I wanted my lunch), some of which were interesting anime movies I’d been looking forward to watching.
This isn’t me. Cool artwork though
Leeds is a great place for this sort of thing: there are some great venues (The Light is nice and central, while the Hyde Park Picture House is wonderfully retro), it’s only an hour’s train ride away from where I live and the prices of tickets and food/drink are slightly cheaper than those in London. It might lack the glamour of the capital but it’s a great event to keep me going until the next Sci-Fi London weekend. In any case, this year I caught Sword of the Stranger, Mind Game, 20th Century Boys and Detroit Metal City. Not bad for 24 hours.