Tagged: Anime

Decemberween: Zandra!

Okay, so you remember those Amerimanga covers I sometimes make as a joke? Turns out that someone took those jokes to suggest they were My Thing, and that meant she, very kindly, this year for my birthday, made me a manga cover –

-which I have wasted time making look like an actual book, because it’s the afternoon and I’m not good at managing my life. This image then led to people who followed her asking why it’s not a real book. this then led to her, as a lark, making a light novel. This then led to her selling that light novel, and people liking it and people asking for more and –

hey.

Zandra’s a light novel author now.

It is very, very hard to not be jealous, I’m not gunna lie.

Zandra is enthusiastic, creative and energetic. She seeks to do things that make people happy and promote a kinder world that is more conducive to people being able to make good choices about what’s good for them. You should check out Zandra’s work.

Decemberween: 0xabad1dea

As with Rachel and Clay before them, I once more turn to point to someone I know, and love, and care about, who hasn’t had a fair shake.

Melissa Elliott, two ls, two ts, is one of those people who, if the 17th century wasn’t just the most awful, would have been one of those academic thinker types we sit around now wondering where they find the time. She’s done infosec research, drawn comics, built a twitter brand, built videogame AI, done some work on videogames, reverse enginered some things, won a My Little Pwnie award for her work in information security –

er, specifically for writing a silly song –

and  she’s written a gaslamp fantasy novel, which is part of a series, as well as a web series I’ve spoken about on the blog before.

Now, none of these are raging successes, by the standards we use to determine success. This is in part because none of us grew up in cultures that value artistic expression, and I know that moreso of Melissa’s upbringing because she and I shared a particular horrorshow that was American Fundamentalism. This is not an experience and a place that, let me tell you, does much to encourage the creative efforts of young women.

I am grateful this year that Melissa has been part of it – the whole way. I feel like a walking firework alongside her, where she needs some degree of quiet, some emotional space, and I, with my big loud idiot elbows smack into spaces that can distress her without even trying – but despite it, she still shares with me what she makes, and what she wants, and what she’s interested in, and that means a lot to me.

Incidentally, she hates card games, and that’s okay – because when I share what I do with my friends, I don’t do it because I want them to feel obligated they should like them.

Death Note 2017 – The Netflix Movie

I think I’ve given this piece enough time to cook. Let’s get business sorted out nice and early.

Here’s your super simple review: it sucks. Oh, you liked it? Well, great, thanks for bothering to ask. I’m glad we could have this fascinating exchange of ideas. Here’s a link for you to continue the conversation.

If you’re actually interested in why I think this sucks, then here’s a fold and you can meet me on the other side. I’ll spoil some things about the manga and maybe, maybe, I’ll spoil something about the movie, if it warrants discussion.

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Vandread

Vandread was an anime that came out in the year 2000 and it’s a bit tricky to introduce because everything it is it’s also not quite. It’s a harem anime, but not quite. It’s a space giant robot anime, but not quite. It’s a science fiction anthology anime, but not quite. It’s about genders, but not quite, about relationships, but not quite, and about identity, but not quite. In a lot of ways, Vandread is a really confused piece, a gem of its time.

The premise of Vandread is – okay, hold on – there are these two planets of entirely gender-segregated populations reproducing through artificial means that been at war with one another for centuries because the men planet thinks the women planet eat liver and it’s all cast as a propoganda war, where our main character such as he is Hibiki is working in an awful factory job that dehumanises him. He stows away on the warship that holds a mecha he helped to build, to try and steal it, because he’s an idiot, and then Lesbian Pirates attack as the warship is about to go show off how great it is. A Space Accident ensues and the warship is swallowed in part by the pirate ship, which then becomes an Extremely Sweet Ship with three male prisoners on board – Hibiki, and two other guys from his own home culture, a doctor and a navigator. The ship is then flung out into the middle of nowhere and our cast have to work out what happened, why their cultures are the way they are, who they are and why some of the mecha and space-ships they have can now combine into a powerful Vandread Unit.

Oh yeah, the shapeshifting robot thing comes up, and there’s also these unidentified attackers who keep trying to kill them.

This is the first episode.

Vandread then follows an almost Star-Trekky kind of plot arc where they move from place to place, and each new episode brings a new problem they handle and learn a bit about the overarcing plot. Sometimes it’s a internal drama on the space-ship, Hibiki learning he’s a doofus, or sometimes it’s going to a new planet and finding out there’s a problem there. The plot on this one kind of unfolds, but it’s also much more of a story about a world as a concept than it is about anything the story wants to say with that.

For all that Vandread is a story about segregated genders, though, there are two really weird points to it – and they get a bit spoilery, so I’ll jump on the far side of a cut for that, so you can avoid it. Continue reading

My Guild Leader Is A Demon

First up, some disclosure: This series, My Guild Leader Is A Demon is made by a friend of mine, 0xabad1dea. While I know I’m in the dedication of one of her books, I don’t think I’ve had any influence or involvement in this project, and I’ve not been paid for this piece.

There is potential that she might implement/reject some ideas I mention here, as the series is ongoing, but as far as I know, no such thing is expected to happen. Basically, if I say something here and it winds up being true in this series, assume 0xabad1dea was going to do it anyway.


My Guild Leader Is A Demon is a web-series/kinetic novel. There’s some consideration on my part as to whether to treat kinetic novels – storytelling which has no major interaction beyond ‘keep going’ – as a series or a videogame. In this case, 0xabad1dea has taken a full play of the game and put it up on Youtube, where you can watch it as a single video. Continue reading

Samurai Pizza Cats’ Missed Joke

Hold up, time to complain about something deeply inconsequential.

Back in 1990, back when rebadging/retheming already-made anime with extremely minimal alterations to on-screen animation, Saban – yes them – picked up a Tatsunoko series and revamped it quickly and with minimal actual relation to the original material, resulting in a product that, uh… I guess the nice way to phrase it is it’d be a very different work.

Now I’m not going to talk about the remix culture of it, the thematic transformation, the characterisation of the adults doing the remake, the meta-awareness of its jokes, the winky way it handles the audience, the trans narrative inherent in an odd character decision, the plot arc about the extra rangers, or even the fact that the opening spells Samurai wrong, and nobody seemed to notice,  but rather, this is about something I only just noticed recently.

This is Speedy Cerviche. Without getting too deep into it, he’s sort of the central character of the Samurai Pizza Cats. This is a series where characters commonly have punny names – Polly Ester, Jerry Atric, Seymour Cheese, for example. The thing is, for the longest time, I was convinced Speedy’s name, while pronounced ‘seh-vi-chey’ was spelled Service. I thought that was the joke. You know, his name put emphasis on the wrong syllables.

Well, turns out that no, his name is a reference to ceviche, which is a totally fine thing to reference but it’s somehow both more wide a reference and also not the really clever joke I always thought it was about ‘Speedy Service’ from a pizza delivery boy.

Game Pile: World End Economica

Okay, let’s clear up something I didn’t know when I bought this game. It’s not a visual novel, that vague term we use to describe a particular style of game with some choices and narrative, a sort of light, eroge-heritage RPG storytelling game. World End Economica is a kinetic novel, a strictly linear progression of text and images.

This makes reviewing it slightly challenging, because the argument about whether or not it is a game is an interesting one academically and unhelpful indeed socially. As it is, World End Economica is such a singularly focused experience, telling you that it’s technically a game isn’t a super helpful recommendation. As it’s such a pure narrative with a primary form of reading, it seems to me best to talk about the game as a story with a particularly interesting delivery method.

With that in mind, it’s a tiny bit of a deviance here; while this is definitely a Game Pile post, it’s definitely going to be reviewing this as more of a book or a movie than if I was going to recommend it as a game. Will that make a huge difference? Well, probably not. Anyway! Continue reading

Toradora!

I didn’t realise it at the time, but much of my earliest anime experiences were comic romantic stories with a soap opera structure, often built around heavily marketed characters. After Ranma 1/2 and Inu-Yasha, two series for which I have varying degrees of passing, retrospective affection, I lost my taste for truly long-running series, especially ones where the core relationship dynamic was a relatively fixed pair of constants. A character dynamic that is unchanged or uninfluenced by the things surrounding it is less of a dynamic than it is a very static relationship, and while there is some joy to be had in reliable characterisation, I found a taste I did not well understand at the time for character development.

When a series has other elements going on, such as the shonen-action genre fare I’d known, there’s a lure to the writer to treat story elements as large blocks; a block of action, then a block of comedy, then some character development, then another block of action. This process hardly hurt those lighter, episodic and serialised series. As I grew older, though, this structure started to wear on me. This soap-TV series structure was designed to perpetuate rather than resolve. A series that didn’t have a plot-progressing storytelling device, like Evangelion‘s war against the angels or Mahoromantic‘s steadily impending doom made it all the more acute. When character development is made the focus of a story, it needs to be good, or the series isn’t good.

Toradora is a good series.

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