Space Dandy Season 1: More Hit Than Miss

I finally finished watching Space Dandy‘s first season over the weekend. I came to like many of the latter episodes (such as the colorful and plant-focused #9, the reconnecting-with-family #10, and the Toh Enjoe-written #11) more than some of the earlier ones like the zombie-centric #4. It helped that the episode endings trended away from having Dandy and friends perish or the entire universe becoming affected by whatever phenomenon was featured that week.

The way the series is being produced – different episode directors and scriptwriters each week – gives some episodes a distinct visual and pacing tone. The rotating contributing staff roles paralleled the Aloha Oe crew visiting and experiencing different planets/areas each episode. There were bound to be a few installments that didn’t stack up to the rest in terms of plot - I’m thinking of the clothing wars in #6 - but the animation continued to look nice and flow well to make up for it.

QT remains my favorite main character with his attempts to keep the crew focused on their missions while sometimes straying in humorous ways, like a sudden passion for fishing in #12. #13 showed off a softer side of the character who had found a companion of sorts after dealing with a human and a Beltegeusian for so long.

I’m looking forward to starting season 2 relatively soon, especially since a Masaaki Yuasa-helmed episode aired last night. Maybe I’ll keep pace with it on a weekly basis again!

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Halfway Through 2014 Check-In Post


I’ve fallen out of touch with the currently airing anime and probably won’t check out that much from the summer season aside from Ai Mai Mi’s and Yama no Susume’s second seasons, Zankyou no Terror, and maybe Rail Wars & Space Dandy’s 2nd season (once I catch up on the first iteration from winter).

Despite feeling disconnected with what’s new and shiny, I did watch some things over the first six months of this year.
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The History of Sports Manga & Anime Panel I Presented at Fanime 2014

This past Sunday at FanimeCon in San Jose, I gave a 50-minute panel about the history of sports manga and anime. It was held in the smallest of the four available panel rooms at the convention but the room looked full when I started speaking so that was good.

I combined my own recorded audio & panel slides into a video for people who couldn’t attend as well as those who were there but missed some parts of it. I’d like to hear feedback and corrections of what I might have gotten wrong (for example, saying Mix takes place in the same high school as H2 when it’s actually Touch) so I can make adjustments for a possible future installment of such a panel.
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Fanime 2014 Preview: Highlighting Some Panels

a VTA light rail with Fanime wrap-around

Fanime is probably my favorite California convention - it’s certainly my most frequented - partly due to the fan panels (not something unique to major cons) and also because San Jose is close enough for me to make a reasonable driving trip to attend. This year’s event is next weekend and I’m excited to be going back as a panelist & general attendee after taking 2013 off.

The convention schedule itself isn’t out yet (UPDATE 5/21: schedule is now out) but the panel descriptions with times are so I figured I would compile a list of which panels I’m interested in, even though I will only be there Sunday and Monday. (My panel - History of Sports Manga & Anime - will be on Sunday at 7pm in Panels 4, by the way.)

Friday:
5pm-6pm, Panels 3 – Anime (and Manga) for Parents
7pm-8pm, Panels 2 – The Dark Side of Magical Girls
8pm-9pm, Panels 3 – Intro to Kantai Collection (16+)
9pm-10pm, Panels 4 – Visually Stunning Anime

Saturday:
5pm-6pm, Panels 3 – Introducing Studio Trigger (16+)
6pm-7pm, Panels 3 – Yokai: The Kappa

Sunday:
10am-11am, Panels 2 – Beautiful Backgrounds of Anime
1pm-2pm, Panels 2 – Most Hilarious Bootlegs (16+)
2pm-3pm, Panels 3 – Tokyo on the Cheap

Monday:
10am-11am, Panels 1 - The Changing Faces of Anime
10am-12pm, Panels 3 – Philosophy in Anime (16+)
12pm-2pm, Panels 2 – Osaka: Comedy, Tragedy & Drama

Notes:
Evan Minto of Ani-Gamers has 3 different panels planned: Beautiful Backgrounds of Anime, Changing Faces of Anime, and Introducing Studio Trigger (16+).

Gilles Poitras returns as a Guest of Honor and is hosting his usual Anime (and Manga) for Parents along with Tokyo on the Cheap and Yokai: The Kappa.

Kantai Collection has boomed in popularity in the past couple years so it’s only natural that there would be an “Intro to” panel about the franchise with KanColle’s anime adaptation expected to debut this July.

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In addition to checking out panels, I usually cruise through Artists’ Alley and the Dealer’s Hall at least once just to see what it’s in either exhibition space but I don’t have any particular person or vendor I’m looking forward to seeing there.

If you’re attending Fanime next weekend, let me know what happenings you’re interested in!

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Spring 2014 Sports Anime Report – Week 2

Abarenbō Rikishi!! Matsutarō - episode 2 didn’t get interesting until the second half after Matsutaro had finished turning down the hard labor jobs for which his teacher had arranged interviews. We get our first encounter with sumo wrestlers in the series and a confrontation that *feels* like it will lead down Matsutaro down the path of taking up the sport, though he currently still dislikes it, particularly the combatants’ clothing.

Haikyu!! - the setup of Hinata & Kageyama’s challenge to some of the current members of the Karasuno volleyball club was entertaining and showed that the two first-years still have a lot of work to do before becoming true teammates. The good animation from the debut episode continued in the second.

Baby Steps - Ei-chan starts to apply his methodical approach to tennis after he receives a lesson from Natsu at the tennis club and gets his first thrill from using a racket. His development seems slow at the moment but there might speed up as he puts more focus into his training. Also, an affection triangle is emerging involving Ei-chan, Natsu, and Natsu’s tennis partner Takuma that will probably come to a breaking point later.

Ping Pong the Animation - there was another good match this week in a showdown between Smile and his coach. The episode also featured some imagery involving butterflies and a bit of insight into what motivates Smile to continue playing table tennis.

Overall, Matsutaro made a slight improvement over its first impression but not by much while the other three series kept steady with nice follow-ups. Ping Pong is probably my most favorite so far with Haikyu!! and Baby Steps competing for second.

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