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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Introducing..."Butthurt Anime Fan!"

I watched this College humor video this morning, and I had to share.

First of all, I patted myself on the back for getting the references.

Second, I don't think I've had the experience of running into someone quite this bad when it came to the fandom.  I'm not saying they don't exist, and I know for a fact that they do.  Maybe I've just been lucky enough to not run into anyone this annoying at the cons that I've been to (although I've gotten into discussions with at least one gentleman in my age range about whether the younger generation appreciates the history of the medium, but that was a fairly civil discussion).

Third, I honestly think that some fandom communities can get a little ridiculous when it comes to excluding potential fans.  Last year, Cracked had an article about fandoms that hate their own members.  It doesn't specifically mention anime, but it does talk about how these three particular fandoms can get exclusive because the people within them won't allow people to "join" them unless they know every single obscure detail about their fandom.  If we have too many fans that act like the fan in this video, we can run the risk of being a fandom that "hates its own members."

Honestly, there are a few debates in the community that I wish would just go away, mostly because I can see both sides of it.  Most annoying to me is the sub vs. dub debate, probably because I'll watch both and have different reasons for wanting to watch either version.

1) Subs are good for when you're watching shows online that are still airing in Japan and haven't been dubbed yet, you're learning Japanese and want to get more listening practice, or you want to get more accurate translation of what they're saying.

2) Dubs are good if you have issues with subtitles (like my stepson -- he has ADHD and can't pay attention to reading and the action at the same time), just want to put on something in the background but want to know what's going on, and for introducing people to anime.

I will admit that I lean more towards dubs if they're available, but oftentimes I'm "impatient" enough to watch the subs. (Right now, two shows I'm following on the FUNImation site are the dubbed version of "Assassination Classroom" and "Ultimate Otaku Teacher," which is subbed) But dubbing these days is better than it has been in the past, thanks to actors and ADR directors who put care into making sure it's a good experience for the audience.

I don't know how this turned into a discussion of my personal preferences...moving on.

Anyway, any fandom has these types of people in them.  The cartoon probably exaggerated these traits only slightly. But let's not let these hyperactive fans ruin the fandom for the rest of us.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Spring 2014 Anime Season is coming up!

What would YOU like to see me cover?

Grabbing the list from Japanator of titles that feel are getting the biggest buzz, I'm trying to decide which titles I want to start doing recaps for either here at Turning Japanese or at (similar to the recaps I did for "Brothers Conflict" and "Danganronpa: The Animation" a few seasons ago).  Here is the list they have:

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
Knights of Sidonia
The Irregular at Magic High School
No Game, No Life
Nanana's Buried Treasure
Brynhilder in the Darkness
Mekaku City Actors
Ping Pong the Animation (based on a 20 year old manga, which is rare)
Black Bullet
Daimidaler the Sound Robot
Captain Earth
One Week Friends
Chaika the Coffin Princess
Magica Wars
Selector Infected WIXOSS
Kanojo ga Flag wa Oraretara
Mangaka-san to Assistant-san
Akuma no Riddle
Atelier and Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky
Tricks of the Gods

In this mix we have some sports anime (Ping Pong, Haikyuu!), some harem anime (Kanojo ga Flag wa Oraretara, Tricks of the Gods), lots of action shows, at least one borrowing a concept from "Sword Art Online" (No Game, No Life), and a few other titles that I don't know how to immediately classify.  There are more series coming out than this, but this is just the ones Japanator thinks will get the biggest buzz.

So, which show or shows would you like to see me recap from this list?  Or would you like to see me recap a completely different show?

Programming note: Because I have a FUNImation Elite Subscription account, any shows slated to air there will get more immediate recaps.  I don't have a paid account with Crunchyroll, so any shows being streamed on their site will get recaps the next week.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Funimation, Gawker, and the Smearing of a Company

We all know the term "fan service."  In general entertainment, the term could apply to anything in a work that fans would recognize that would be considered a "reward" for being a fan of the work.  As an extreme example, Kevin Smith's film "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" is an exercise in fan service, a virtual "love letter" to the fans of Smith's films because of how many references to other works from the Askewniverse are made in the film.

Anime fans who use the term, however, are referring to shots in an animated work that either involve boobs or butts, or otherwise show off the "physique" of a female or male character.

Now, to be fair, almost every anime show has a little bit.  It's when it gets prevalent that sometimes it can go into "ecchi" territory. The most obvious examples are when they have the characters take a trip to the beach or the pool, giving them an excuse to feature the female characters in skimpy swimsuits.

But remembering that Japan is still very much a very patriarchal society, should an anime company be called a purveyor of "smut" by our standards?

In an effort to discredit a political "enemy," Gawker overstepped their bounds with a recent article regarding anime distributor FUNImation Entertainment, its founder and CEO Gen Fukunaga, and Christian film company EchoLight Studios, which is backed by former presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

The connection is that Fukunaga is also the founder of EchoLight Studios, which is not a huge secret.  What Gawker is trying to use as ammunition is the fact that FUNImation Entertainment has some "fan service" titles in their collection, making it sound like FUNImation distributes anime porn.

Now, Gawker makes it sound like FUNImation is the only company that diversifies its production companies to make or distribute different kinds of films or products.  Hollywood has been doing this for years -- a prime example of this is Disney, which has production companies dedicated to more adult fare versus the family-friendly Disney brand.  In the more independent market, Troma Entertainment produces and distributes mostly extreme B-movie grindhouse style films, but also has one company dedicated to distributing classic movies from the 1940s and 1950s.

Depending on their particular business model, every anime company has a collection of "fan service" titles among their catalogs.  Sentai Filmworks, for example, carries "Highschool of the Dead" among their titles, which mixes "fan service" with zombie stories. Aniplex of America distributes shows like "Oreimo" and "Kill la Kill." Arguably, FUNImation has more "fan service" titles, but they're also one of the biggest distributors of anime in the US.  It's not a major focus of their business -- out of over 200 titles in their catalog, only 60 titles are classified as "fan service," and out of those, probably 27 of those titles have a focus on  "fan service" material.

Although the show "Sekirei" was a top seller for them when it was released on DVD, most of their bread and butter is on the shounen/action titles such as the "Dragonball" series (which is how the company got its start), "One Piece," and "Fullmetal Alchemist."  The show predicted to make huge bank for the company once its released on DVD: the mega-hit from last fall "Attack on Titan," which is slated to get a second season.

Overall, Gawker is way off base on this one.  In their attempt to smear someone else, they ended up dragging in another company and making them out to be what they weren't. In the future, the writers at Gawker should do some more research before writing their pieces.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Anime Boston 2014: The Aftermath

One of my goals for the upcoming year is to post more here.  So here is my first post for 2014: how I survived Anime Boston.

Because of how expensive the trip can get (and it got more expensive for congoers this year since they got rid of the one day passes for every day except Sunday), I only go on Saturday because that's when most of the major events happen during the week.

And, oh boy, was there a major event on Saturday.

But before I get to that -- one thing I've learned about going to Anime Boston is that, if I want to keep my sanity, only attend the stuff I really need to attend in order to write stories.  What this usually means is industry panels -- panels that are held by major distributors.  Last year, I attended panels for Sentai Filmworks, Aniplex of America, and Funimation.  This year, the only industry panel I attended was Funimation because it was scheduled back to back with Aniplex of America, which was in another building and would have required me to go through the bag check again if I had gone.  And Sentai didn't have a panel this year despite being a sponsor.

This year, most of the events that I needed to go to were in the afternoon, so it gave me some time to explore the Dealer's Room and Artist's Alley beforehand.

When I go to Anime Boston, I have an unofficial tradition that I have to get at least a DVD and a t-shirt, which started with my first year going in 2011 (I bought a Dr. Who t-shirt for my husband, and I purchased the first "Eden of the East" movie before it officially went on sale, getting it signed by voice actor J. Michael Tatum who was there that year). This was my haul for this year:

I should say, this was PART of my haul -- towards the end of the day I bought a $20 grab bag which included a Gundam toy, a manga, and a few other things.  But these were the things I bought on purpose. :-)

When I went in this year, it was with the goal of buying "Akira" here since it was on my initial Christmas list.   From watching it this weekend, I like what Funimation did with this special edition, which celebrates the movie's 25th anniversary.  They included both the 1988 English track and the re-done 2001 track as well as the Japanese track.  Plus, there's a bunch of extras related to the remastering of the film and other things that are interesting.

The t-shirt I looked around for awhile before I decided on what I wanted to get.  This one I thought was totally adorable and funny at the same time (and not black -- the three anime shirts I have on rotation for these occassions are all black).  Considering that next year's theme for AB is "Kaiju vs. Mecha," I'll definitely be wearing this next year.

And then we have the three manga I bought as part of a "Buy 1, get two free" deal.  "Excel Saga" is one I collect (I have the first seven volumes -- I thought I had eight when I bought this one, but when I went home discovered that I didn't).  "Toradora" I had heard of, but thought it might be interesting.  And "Taro and the Magic Pencil" was one that I bought for my son. Since I brought it home, he's been reading it on his own and asking me to read it to him -- for a kindergartener, he reads like a third grader.  So that might be one where I'm going to look for more of those titles when I go to cons or online.

Like I said, there was a doozy of a big event this weekend that warranted this much of a packed house:

 This was just before the premiere of the first three episodes of the "Attack on Titan" English dub, where they announced that lead character Eren Yeager would be voiced by Bryce Pappelbrook ("Sword Art Online," "Blue Exorcist"). I know some site reported on the audience singing the "Jeager!" line when it came up, but I would argue that it was the most audible of the singing -- I could hear people around me singing the entire song.

I ended up talking with the press guy who was sitting next to me, who at one point said, "Why is this show so popular? It's not Shonen Jump!" (I think he was being sarcastic), and at one point admitted to me that this was his first time seeing the show and was taking guesses as to what the Titans really were (which he was WAY off, and I didn't want to spoil it for him in case he decided to continue watching the show).  Unfortunately I didn't stay for the Q and A afterwards because I had told my stepdaughter and her friends that I would meet them at 6:30 to go home.

After watching these first three episodes in the dub, now I want to get this when it's released in June. (Just the standard edition, only because the collector's edition, as cool as it looks, is out of my price range and has too many small parts that might get lost and in the hands of a curious five year old)  Or maybe next year's Anime Boston purchase?

Overall, I had a pretty good time.  Next up: Another Anime Convention!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Top Ten All Time Anime

With being a mom and a substitute teacher, I haven’t had a chance to sit down too much with new anime this year.  There has been a few shows I’ve caught here and there, but I found myself rewatching a few series that I just really liked, especially when it was something I caught last year and now has a dub.
So, instead of doing a countdown to my top anime for this year, I’m going to do a top ten anime for me for all time.  Feel free to argue for your choices in the comments, but here is my list of my all time favorite anime in no particular order that I think everyone should check out at some point in their fandom, whether it’s old school or more recent.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

“Puella Magi Madoka Magica,” or just simply “Madoka Magica” or “Madoka,” is one of those shows that has had such a strange effect on me.  In its 12 episode run, you manage to start with a story that you think is going to go one way, but gets dark really, really fast.  Early on, it’s a typical magical girl anime – you have cute girls, and they have special abilities that allow them to fight Witches. But then you get to episode 3, and all heck breaks loose – expectations are broken, and you realize that you are watching something that had never been seen before in the genre up to that point.  I’m not one who likes “magical girl” anime, but I really liked this one.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

This is a series that divides anime fans.  Those that like it are awed by the symbolism and the deconstruction aspects of the series.  Those that hate it think every character is annoying, in particular lead character Shinji Ikari. As someone who came late to the game on this series (I watched it for the first time last year), it’s identifiable for me.  Why?  Because I can identify with what Shinji is going through in terms of a deep depression and self-doubt.  So that’s why, to me, his character is not as annoying as others take him for.  Yeah, he’s whiny, but all kids his age usually are at some point.  He’s this teenager who’s being asked to do this adult job, and add to that his relationship with his father and you have the makings of a major psychosis.  Worth at least checking out.

Black Butler

I introduced my stepkids to this show when I started watching anime again, and since then my stepdaughter in particular has been really into it.  It’s a very easy show to fall in love with – set in Victorian England, you have a handsome demon who is contracted to be the butler of a 13 year old boy who wants revenge for his parents’ murders.  The staff seem incompetent in comparison to Sebastian, but they have secrets of their own.  Add to that the excellent writing and situations these characters are put in, and you have the makings of a great anime.

Death Note

I know, this seems like an obvious choice, but this was the show that got me back into anime.  And I started watching it just as a shortcut to the manga to make sure that it was appropriate for my stepson at the time.  What drew me in was the twists and turns of the story, and without a single plothole open to interpretation – you would think writer Toshiki Inoue (adapting Tsugubi Ohba’s manga) would have a few holes that need explanation in the course of the story.  It’s a perfect cat and mouse type story, and although it does have its flaws (parts of it can be seen as a little overdramatic) it’s worth a watch.

Excel Saga

This is an anime that got me into anime in the first place.  For those who don’t like it, it’s usually because the lead character Excel is so over energetic and her voice can get grating (the original English dub actress had to be replaced halfway through because she blew her voice out doing the part).  For those who do like the show, however, it’s for the many anime parodies and references to genres such as space operas, American action films, dating sims, Japanese horror films, and others.  Nothing is off limits, especially in the last episode, which never aired.  It’s just a lot of fun to watch.

Cowboy Bebop

My husband bought this for me one Christmas knowing that I liked anime, and it’s probably one of my favorite Christmas gifts to date.  The show is popular for a reason – the tight writing, the voice acting, the humor, the jazz soundtrack which shouldn’t fit but does.  You can’t help but like these characters.

Eden of the East

I like this series so much that I own the entire series on DVD/Blu-Ray along with the two movies, and all three are signed by voice actor J. Michael Tatum, who plays Kazuomi Hirasawa in the show. The overall theme of what you would do to save your country really resonates, because even though it’s set in Japan it can really apply anywhere.  The animators on this series really did their homework when it came to U.S. geography – since I lived in New York City for a time, I was able to actually establish in a few scenes where they were in the city.

Sgt. Frog

This show didn’t get the love that it should have.  The original Japanese version of the show was more kiddie fare, but when FUNImation got a hold of it adults could watch it, too, with no shame.  The dub of the show is really heavy on incredibly silly jokes, pop culture references, and very out there humor.  And how can you hate that?


This is the other show that got me into anime.  I’ve read the manga so many times now, but when I was pregnant with my son I was finally able to watch the show in its entirety, and was crying by the end.  I like to jokingly describe the plot as “a guy who falls in love with his computer,” but really there’s more to the show in regards to saving yourself for the right person, what it means to be human, and whether machines can also have personalities on their own.

Ouran High School Host Club

I’m not one for shoujo anime. My idea of a good Christmas movie is “Die Hard.”  But when I heard that “Ouran High School Host Club” was a show that made fun of that genre, it piqued my interests a bit.  And when I started watching the show, I really fell in love with it.  Yeah, it made fun of the tropes of most shoujo anime with its “pretty boy” cast, but the show has a lot of heart behind it.  And my favorite character in the show is Honey, mostly because he resembles my son.  But it’s worth checking out.

See what I mean?

So what are your favorites?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

J-Drama: "Ouran High School Host Club"

Okay, I'm not really into J-Dramas, but this one I'm liking.  And I didn't think I would.

I think everyone is familiar with the story of  "Ouran High School Host Club."  It started out as a manga, then became an anime show.  Here in the states, the anime became really popular (in particular among female anime fans), and who wouldn't fall in love with the charms of these boys?

But as a live action show?  I didn't think it would work.

Until I watched the first episode.  Then I could see it.

Some of the trademarks from the anime series were there, such as the text randomly showing up and the more cartoonish moments from the series.  One thing they don't do that the anime did was break the fourth wall.

I'm also disappointed that Honey isn't blonde and shorter.  He's one of my favorite characters just because the anime version looks so much like my son.

Can't you see this adorable face in a couple of years cosplaying as Honey?
But as I watched the first episode, I actually liked it. It was funny, and captured the spirit of the story perfectly.  I especially like how any drawn versions of the characters are taken out of the manga/anime versions.

If you're an "Ouran" fan, check it out online. Anywhere I send you might not be a legal stream, so no links.  But just type it in and you should be able to find it.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Coming Soon...

More posts!

It's been a crazy year for me as a substitute.  Since I've been subbing in September, I've gotten at least three calls a week from the same school district, at either the middle or high school.  Four different instances I did assignments that lasted more than a week (in one instance, in a subject that I wasn't certified in, which was only until they could find a sub).  The one I'm doing now I've been doing since the week before Spring Break for a teacher who has since resigned.  When I get done with my teaching career I'll probably write a book about this first year.

Monday is my last day of school, and there are two days worth of workshops for me to attend.  I don't have to attend them because I'm a sub, but I'm going to because I get professional development hours out of it.  After that, in between job hunting for next year, expect some more posts.

I don't know what about yet, but expect them soon.