12 Days 2014 (Late) Day 4 – Experiencing Manga Nostalgia Through Blue Blazes

Honoo and Kishimoto fondly remembering Susume!! Pirates.

Blue Blazes (Aoi Honoo) was a fun J-drama series to watch during the second half of 2014 and part of my enjoyment – apart from the reaction faces by main character Honoo – came from seeing references to what are now “classic” manga and anime series.

There are many scenes of characters reading Shonen Sunday, Big Comic and other manga magazines, numerous mentions of Mitsuru Adachi and his storytelling & character design traits, and particular manga scenes are displayed on screen at times with voice overs reading the panels’ dialogue. Also, Honoo aspires to become a professional manga author so he often thinks about how to create a popular manga by trying to combine genres and/or character types.

The title of this post is sort of deceptive because I wasn’t around when the series takes place (1980-1981) so I don’t think I can really have nostalgia for Yamato, Urusei Yatsura or Touch.

12 Days 2014 (Late) Day 3 – Watching “Terror in Resonance” on a Weekly Basis

Each anime season, I desire a good dramatic series I can watch on a weekly basis. In the recent past, that was satisfied through titles such as Mawaru Penguindrum and Madoka Magica. This summer, one I stuck with the whole way was Terror in Resonance (Zankyou no Terror). Like the other two series I mentioned, it had its own flaws but it prompted discussion and speculation among the people watching it including posts like Emily’s (aka ajthefourth). Those conversations propelled me along in conjunction with enjoying the plot of the show, similar to how I kept watching the American TV series Lost to the end despite its lackluster final season. Yoko Kanno’s fantastic score adding to the tension in certain scenes also contributed to me liking the show enough to call it one of my favorite anime of 2014.

12 Days 2014 Day 2 – A Couple of Character Crossovers (Wooser Season 2)


Miss Monochrome
was one of my favorite shorts from last year so I was happy to see the lead girl from that make an appearance in front of an alkaline batteries supermarket display during Wooser‘s second season.


The Chihaya birthday surprise was a more attention-grabbing crossover from later in the season.

Despite these two moments, the second season was disappointingly less funny overall than the first one. (I can’t remember what else happened in season 2 other than the character appearances I just mentioned.) The ending song was up there among the catchiest of the year, though, so that was a plus.

12 Days 2014 Day 1 – Experiencing the Ghost Stories Dub with Others


It’s the middle of December again, which means it’s time to begin reflecting on my anime-watching experiences from 2014 as part of the multi-blogger 12 Days project, spearheaded by The Cart Driver this year.

I think this will be my 8th year I’m participating in such a thing (you can see the titles of previous-year posts from 2007 to 2012 via Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine – 2013’s list wasn’t captured unfortunately) so I should be experienced in writing posts for it but I still seem to run out of topics more than halfway through the process, mainly due to the declining amount of series I manage to finish during a calendar year. I tried to plan ahead this time around so I’m more confident that I’ll cross the figurative finish line than I might have otherwise.

One series that I watched with the SCCSAV Classics group this year was Ghost Stories. Of course, we watched the English dub done by ADV in the mid-2000’s for more humor than the Japanese track could have offered.

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Old Magazine Articles: Fred Patten on Anime for Starlog (April & May 1986)

While exploring the Internet Archive’s magazine collection earlier this month, I happened across a two-part article by Fred Patten in consecutive issues of Starlog (April 1986 #105, May 1986 #106).

The feature focused on science-fiction anime that had been translated into English as well as, in part two, mentioning “some of the most popular SF cartoons with American fans” that were only available in Japanese at the time. Notable black-and-white series from the 1960s – Astro Boy, 8th Man and Gigantor – led off part one while part two began with then-more-recent offerings like Robotech and TranZor Z (aka Mazinger Z).

The last page in part two highlighted six anime series that would all eventually get released on DVD in the US: Fist of the North Star (Discotek), Space Adventure Cobra (Nozomi), Mobile Suit Gundam (Bandai; Sunrise announced it would re-release Gundam in spring 2015 through a partnership with RightStuf), Urusei Yatsura (AnimEigo), Lupin III (Discotek) and Dirty Pair (Nozomi).

Both articles can also be found without pictures in Patten’s 2004 collection of his writings, Watching Anime, Reading Manga: 25 Years of Essays and Reviews.

Catching Up On Detective Conan: Season One (Region 1)


The Detective Conan franchise has been around for almost 21 years. The manga has been serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday since January 1994, its anime adaptation has been running on Japanese television since January 1996, and there have been movies released every April since 1997.

English-dubbed episodes started airing on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block in May 2004 so US audiences have been exposed to it for a little over 10 years. (Localized episodes ran for a longer time in Germany with channel RTL II airing first-run German-dubbed episodes from April 2002 until July 2006 for a total of 333 – according to German Wikipedia, some of the specials were run as miniseries so the number of adapted Japanese episodes was 308.)

After Crunchyroll began simulcasting new episodes last month beginning with number 754, I decided I would try to catch up to them and why not start from the beginning? I had watched many of the 50 Case Closed episodes that aired on cable during its first run and saw a couple of the movies but that was years ago so I’d forgotten details of many cases, like how crimes were committed and particular culprits, that I’m now picking up on while re-watching the early episodes.

I’m planning to roughly follow an order guide from the DC Rewatch Tumblr as to when I’ll watch the movies, specials and OVAs. (For those who might not be willing to subject themselves to 700+ episodes, the Reverse Thieves wrote a couple of guides in 2010 for the first season and the franchise as a whole, the latter of which was updated earlier this month.)

As far as blogging my progress, I’m going to start off by following the season grouping convention that FUNimation used for their Region 1 DVD box sets (25-27 episodes per season set) and then after that, well… I start treading into the multitude of middle episodes that have not been officially translated into English. A couple of wikis seem to have episodes organized into seasons based on Japanese DVD releases, although some episodes on those releases are grouped out of order so I haven’t come to a decision on how to divide up the other episodes into posts yet.

I’m also planning to write about the movies when they come up in my watching order as well as the 2009 Lupin crossover TV special & the 2013 crossover movie. However, I’m considering not watching the live-action drama episodes because I saw one of the live-action specials in the past and didn’t really like it.

Now that the preface is out of the way…

~~~ Detective Conan Catch-Up Post #1 ~~~
Last episode watched: JPN #25/US #26 – The Fake Ransom Case (more…)

Attending a Local Live Show After Finishing K-On! Season 1


Earlier this month, I completed the first season of K-On! after getting Sentai’s DVD re-release set. The last episode in that collection dealt with Houkago Tea Time (the main girls’ band) being invited to perform at a live house on New Year’s Eve with a few other bands. On Saturday night, I went to a live show at Witch Room in midtown Sacramento featuring three bands – local group DesarioTennis System and headliner Be Forest from Italy – and thought back to that episode while I was there. (more…)

Brief Thoughts About Anisong Covers on Music Services

Every once in a while, I come across an anime song cover album while browsing albums on Spotify. I’ve found there are a bunch of these albums from various artists and most of them also are listed on Amazon MP3 and other services. Something about them being on legitimate music services bothers me a bit because I get the feeling they are gaining from other artist’s lyrics.

Most of the groups listed on these music services are published through Cyber Chord Records & Anime Records and the name Eddy Hoefler comes up when doing a search for those labels. The latter operates out of Berlin, Germany, according to that label’s website.

One artist who stands out from the lot is Shiroku, whose catalog is mostly covers but also features some original songs. She performs concerts at conventions and had attempted a crowdfunding campaign earlier this year for a fourth CD album of anime favorites but it seemed to have not reached its goal.

I suppose another way of looking at Western-produced anime song cover albums is to think of them as similar to doujin music releases that are often sold at Japanese fan events like Comiket since both are produced by fans of particular series or genres. I’m more interested in original doujin albums rather than the ones that mainly remix or reinterpret game soundtracks (Touhou has a popular subject for years). I was glad to learn last night that some artists like Buta-Otome have branched out into producing some original albums after getting their start through Touhou vocal and instrumental albums.

After thinking about the matter that way, I guess I don’t feel as irritated as I once was, especially if I consider it a way for some budding artists to express themselves and potentially get noticed. I remain curious about the legal issues surrounding cover and tribute bands in general. There are many rock tribute bands across the US – and presumably around the world – and I’ve never really felt comfortable about them either as I’d rather hear the originals and maybe some creative remixes.

Fall 2014 Watching Update After About A Month


For the first real post on this blog’s current iteration, here’s an overall “what I’ve been watching from the new anime season” update similar to what I’ve done a couple times in the past.

Currently Watching

Gugure! Kokkuri-san (3 episodes): I didn’t know much of the show when it started but it made me laugh with its first episode and continues to have good moments as the Japanese kami characters fight over Kohina.

Hi-sCool! SeHa Girls (3 episodes): I liked both seasons of gdgd Fairies so I’m not surprised I’m watching this week-to-week, though I feel like the main attraction for many viewers – the console girls’ interactions inside Sega video games – has so far been delayed to the latter halves of two-parters with the first halves mainly being occupied with gdgd-style conversations among the three Hard Girls. Those conversational parts do have some funny moments in them so they’re not a total hindrance to the show.

I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying (4 episodes): There always seems to be at least one 3-to-5-minute series per season that I end up following and this one about a ordinary wife and her otaku husband goes by quickly. There are some sweet parts sprinkled in with the typical otaku-skewering jokes.

Parasyte (3 episodes): If you can get past the screaming OP each week, there’s a pretty good action show that doesn’t hold back much in terms of showing blood and has its protagonist (slowly) becoming more assertive.

Shirobako (2 episodes): This animation about animation production was one I hoped would be good and so far, I like the behind-the-scenes work and conflicts that it’s laying out. It’s got a bunch of terminology but that comes with the focus of the show – just like if I were watching a medical drama, I’d expect there to be some jargon to make the dialogue sound more natural.

Tribe Cool Crew (4 episodes): This Sunrise show about dancing is goofy enough for me to keep with it. Haneru’s straightforwardness has gotten a bit tiresome but the rest of the main cast keeps it fresh and Haneru in check. I don’t know how long this series will last but I’m hoping the climax doesn’t end up being the crew performing at a Jay-El concert or something easily predictable at this point.

Dropped

Denki-Gai no Honya-san (1 1/2 episodes): Soon after seeing the above frame at the start of the staff’s shopping district competition in episode 2, I stopped watching the show. I liked some of the characters and from what I heard on Twitter, episode 3 isn’t as bad as 2 was. However, I feel like I’m already watching a good amount for the amount of time I have so if I were to revisit it, it’d probably have to be after it’s finished airing.

Haven’t Tried Yet

Magic Kaito 1412: As someone somewhat familiar with Detective Conan, I figured I would give this prequel spinoff a shot but had technicial issue while playing the first episode (which I had to download since it’s not being simulcast by anyone) so I gave up for the time being.

Any of the FUNimation simulcasts: Nothing has really attracted me from their lot this season based on their premises, whether it’s the twintails one, the sequel to a series I barely started (Psycho-Pass), fantasy-action stuff (Garo & Rage of Bahamut), or the rest. I’ve heard good things about the last two I mentioned so I may try both later on.

Starting Over

Earlier this week, an anonymous person, presumably a hacker, got in and erased all the previous content on this blog. Sigh.

I hadn’t been making regular backups of the blog’s content (let this be a lesson to the rest of you out there!) so I basically have to start fresh. You may see the theme and other visual aspects change over the weekend as I try to figure out how I want the blog to look in its latest iteration.

I was working on some posts recently and still an idea of how I planned to structure those so they might be the first ones that get published once I get done writing them.

As for the posts from the last seven years or so, I’ll see if I have an older backup that might contain most of the ones from past years but anything 2014 is probably gone. Sorry for the broken links that might crop up on other sites.