Open Your Golden “Gate”

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This was an intriguing series, but the terseness of the first season means that there will be a second season (at the very least) to try and settle the problems that were both brought up and complicated in this show. This is “Gate: Jieitai Kano Chi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri “ (“Gate: The Self-Defense Forces Fight Like This in That Place”), although it just seems to be called “Gate”. It is either current times or a slightly distant future (like 2020 or something along those lines. Still no hoverboards). It is a wonderful afternoon in the Ginza Area and Yōji Itami (guy up there) is enjoying his day off. You see, he is a JSDF soldier, but he is also a hopeless otaku and is making his way to his favorite store for the latest and greatest in manga and anime.

Suddenly, a massive portal shows up, and I don’t mean like a pulsating spiral of pure evil, but a real archway. It almost looks Roman in construction and design and size. Look, it spans the street and is at least two stories tall, perhaps taller. Then, all of these nasty monsters start pouring out and attack the citizenry. Itami is ticked off, as he had places to go to, but now, he is pressed into service to help protect people and drive back the threat. Well, despite being monsters, these guys come off as medieval, with spears and arrows and swords, so they are no match for modern weaponry and are quickly dispatched (those that aren’t captured). (more…)

Gaining A New Writer

This blog has been a solo affair throughout its multiple iterations – first as the WordPress-hosted Part-Time Otaku and then as Nigorimasen! when it moved onto its own hosting – and I hadn’t really considering bringing on other writers, perhaps in an unconscious attempt to not have conflicting voices. I didn’t feel comfortable reaching out to people who were writing for other blogs and websites or inviting readers to join as writers so it’s been just me for years.

I guess it’s appropriate that The Droid reached out to me rather than the other way around. He wanted to migrate here after making hundreds of reviews and other posts for another anime blog. We exchanged emails for a while, he sent me some past reviews, and now he’s making his Nigorimasen! debut this week. You can find out more about him in his introduction post.

The addition of another writer has re-ignited my own writing juices. I have been watching some of the new anime series that debuted this month and I’m assembling my thoughts on what I’ve seen so far. I also have a new regular feature in the works as well as the continuation of a dormant project.


suguru 4

Good day to one and all. My name is The Droid. How I came by that nickname is a long and colorful story, but not as long and colorful as to how I came to be here on this anime blog.

Many years ago, I used to be the Top Dog at Yahoo!Answers (yes, long before I got a life). For four years, I was #1 US, #1 World, but I surrendered the title some time back. One of the areas that I was a big winner at was the Comics and Animation sub-category (and I still am).

About four years ago, I was recruited by an individual who was starting an anime blog. He saw how well I was doing in the anime category (and honestly, the bulk of the questions asked there are anime/manga related) and wondered if I would like to write for his site, which would give anime recommendations. I sent off a couple of reviews and he enjoyed my writing style and approach and took me on.

Now, I did more than just review anime; I also passed on some commentary about trends I saw or things that annoyed me in anime and gave reviews of anime conventions that I have attended. Things were looking swell for us, as I prepared for the 2016 Season.

In March, the reviews were not being posted as often as was scheduled, but since I was behind in my writings, I did not pay it much heed. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the site near the end of the month to see that it had lapsed. The domain name was not renewed and my frantic letters to him went unanswered.

I am, foremost, a writer. Well, maybe I fancy myself as one, but it is something I have been doing since Jimmy Carter was president (crfap, did I just date myself?) Campus radio, college TV, several failed attempts at screenplays, I crashed and burned trying to get children’s books published, and, as of late, anime reviews. And to all of a sudden not be writing is a bit of a shock.

I did an internet search of Top Anime Blogs and was a bit stunned to see that our site was in the Top 25. Not too bad for basically a one-man operation. (When we started out we had six people; I chose to do full-series reviews with a couple of the other reviewers and we had others who did episode reviews). But as time wore on, people found it more and more difficult to keep up with the shows and stay to a writing schedule, so it all fell away ‘til there was me. (Or is it I? That part of grammar always confuses me. And we are NOT going to discuss ‘lay’ and ‘lie’. Brrrrrrrrrr!)

I looked at the contenders. It is important that you fit within the style and scope of the site, or you end up a kind of Jabberwocky; that person out of step, out of sync, out of luck. This site was a good fit for how I do reviews and the Domain Lord was in need of help. Sounded like a win-win situation for us. So, now I’ll be posting here.

Some things you should be aware of: I detest Giant Fighting Robot shows. Not all mecha, but certainly things in the Gundam Realm fall far short with me. I am also tired of the vampire – zombie – monster trifecta, as I’m not seeing anything new. And I know I will take a lot of heat about my irritation at excessive fan service (I know; I heard you shouting, “There’s no such thing as ‘excessive fan service’!”)

I certainly welcome your comments and feel that you can have a lively discussion about anime without it becoming an argument clinic. (“You love ‘Tokyo Mew Mew’? That explains EVERYTHING!!!”) So, let’s all have a good time here.

Oh, that splash panel up top? I kinda look like Suguru Misato from “Mahoromatic”, so I use it as my icon.

Wrapping Up 2015: Five Short-Form Summer Anime Series

My rate of keeping up with newly-debuted anime series has fallen in the past few years. I had decided to not participate in this year’s Anime Secret Santa project since I figured I might not be able to completely watch and subsequently write a review of a recommended anime within the given timeframe. I also passed on joining other bloggers in the 12 Days project that started on December 14th because I didn’t feel like I had completed enough anime since January to adequately compose 12 posts.

I ended up beginning more series from 2015 than I’ve finished and there are others I would still like to try out, though I likely won’t get through those until the first couple months of next year. (My curiosity in wanting to sample new shows has gradually led to a long list of half-watched anime, especially since the growth of simulcasts has allowed me to easily try out a first episode on a whim.) I’ll attempt to wrap up watching as many 2015 series as I can before year’s end and write about the ones I complete.

The bulk of my current anime watching involves series with episodes lasting less than 15 minutes. Those shorter runtimes mean smaller weekly time commitments for me as a viewer and also mean the shows featuring those shorter episodes sometimes have more focused writing and pacing compared to their full-length counterparts. Over the past few months, I completed watching five such anime from this summer.


Returning After A Two-Month Blogging Hiatus

Wakaba-san at a water park.

It’s been a while since I’ve written a proper post so I’ll talk about what little I have been watching over the past few months and what I might make posts about in the near future.

I haven’t been keeping up with most of the summer anime series I started watching in July, mainly the ones with full-length episodes. (Here’s a general impressions post from that month with my feelings about 13 summer anime after seeing a couple episodes from each show.)

I’ll finish what I can over the coming weeks and maybe make a short wrap-up post for each one I complete. The same goes for many winter and spring 2015 series that I began without reaching their final episodes, although posts about those may come sometime after I get done with summer shows.

I was happy that Wakako-zake was eventually added to Crunchyroll’s simulcast lineup in mid-August.

The anime I’ve watched the most recently is the Dirty Pair TV series (1985) with the weekly SCCSAV Classics group – we’re about halfway through it after this past weekend’s batch of episodes. It’s been mainly episodic so far and some of the Lovely Angels’ adventures have been more entertaining than others.

Part of the time I didn’t spend watching anime was occupied by listening to music from various anime through the Music in Anime tumblr. I also participated in an episode of the Taiiku Podcast about Cinedigm’s first two-disc DVD set of ’90s basketball anime Slam Dunk. I haven’t listened to that particular episode yet, partly I don’t like hearing my own recorded voice.

We began by discussing some issues we had with the physical release and then moved onto talking about the content of the 14 episodes in that set. I liked what I saw in those episodes enough that I’d like to watch more of the series. If you’re curious about experiencing the English dub for yourself, the same episodes that were on that Cinedigm set are currently on Hulu. Meanwhile, the whole 101-episode series is still available on Crunchyroll with Japanese audio and English hardsubs.

Briefly looking ahead at the new crop of anime set to debut in October, I’m interested in checking out the following shows:

I haven’t made any progress on the Catching Up On Detective Conan project since my season 2 post at the end of May. The next things I need to watch for that are the 1st theatrical film (The Time-Bombed Skyscraper) and then season 3 as arranged by Funimation in North America, which begins with a double episode (The Mist Goblin Murder) and wraps up with a double episode featuring the debut of Kaitou Kid.

Non-Traditional Forms of Fanservice

A feature article called “Five Steps to Better Fanservice” went up on ANN this week. Its author, Paul Jensen, made some good points about moderation and setting audience expectations early on in a series. However, the piece’s focus on the common interpretation of the term “fanservice” with regard to anime – body parts, hot spring/beach trips, etc. – left me a little disappointed after I finished reading it. I began to think about other types of fanservice and remembered an old post of mine that briefly touched on that notion.

Prioritizing Books Over New Anime This Summer

Nodoka carrying some books in Negima

Over the years, I’ve collected a number of books I wanted to read and perhaps write about on this blog. However, I have yet to finish most of them or write much about the ones I have completed, such as Dreamland Japan and Beautiful Fighting Girl.

I don’t anticipate watching many new anime in the upcoming summer season so the next three months might be a good time for me to finish reading the books that have stacked up.

Feeling Less Interested in Attending Conventions As Time Passes

Part of Sacramento Convention Center lobby during Sac-Anime Summer 2014

As anime/manga convention season heats up with AnimeNEXT happening this weekend in New Jersey and Anime Expo & Otakon around the corner in July, I’m seeing many people I follow on Twitter either at these events or preparing to attend one. That got me thinking about my previous convention experiences and my plans for going to any in the future.

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

I’m continuing to watch older episodes of Detective Conan in an attempt to catch up to the current episodes. I wrote an initial post in November 2014 after completing the first season, as defined by Region 1 DVD box set releases. This post covers season two: Japanese episodes 26 through 51 (English episodes 27 through 52).

~~~Detective Conan Catch-Up Post #2~~~
Last episode watched: JPN #51/US #52 – Driving a Bomb