The autumnal equinox has passed here in North America but we’re still getting warm weather in California. The summer anime season is wrapping up, though, and fall premieres begin in earnest later this week. In this mish-mash of a post: some news items I didn’t write up from the past month, what I’ve been watching, what I might watch from the fall season and a correction of a self-set goal.
News & Stuff #
The biggest news of the past few months was the death of director Satoshi Kon. I liked the works I saw of his – the only unwatched one is Millenium Actress – and tributes have been done on many other blogs and podcasts so I won’t waste space for that here. (ANN had a six-part look back at Kon’s - here’s #6 about Paprika with links to the other five – and Anime3000 had a tribute panel episode.) I would like to listen through the commentary on one of my Paranoia Agent discs and possibly write about that later.
Brian Ruh’s column for ANN, Brain Diving, began last month with a look at the Ghost in the Shell novels and how they handle that universe’s detail compared to the anime series & movies. I seemed to like the first novel, The Lost Memory, when I read and reviewed it in 2006. Brian has discussed The Art of Osamu Tezuka, Okinawa through The Habu Hunter, and two of Fred Schodt’s books about manga in subsequent columns.
Section23 announced Taisho Baseball Girls as a November 16th release, a show I had mentioned in my “anime from the 2000s I wanted to see” post. Also on that list are recent & upcoming from Section23 – Xam’d Lost Memories (Sept. 21 & Nov. 9) and Canaan (Oct. 26). I already have the first X’amd collection and will be making my way through it soon.
Oh, I was invited by Patz & Bakatanuki to be on the first episode of Podlabor, Insert-Disc’s new anime podcast. We talked about our experiences at Otakon and the sound quality turned out fine. There has since been a second Patlabor episode released – that one is about Welcome to the Space Show.
Finally, there was an “Ask John” column at the end of August about Ken Akamatsu’s comments that the boom fueled by moé has ended. I had to read it a few times to really get it but John argued that moé still seems popular but it has changed over the past half-decade: there are still shows with harem components but they are less high profile & don’t have an male protagonist who’s an audience surrogate. Other shows like BakaTest and B Gata H Kei “suggest that the anime trend is moving away from 90s and 00s harem style and returning to 80′s style romantic comedy”. He also proposed that there’s been a shift from the possessive type (e.g., mai waifu) back to the enthusiastic cheering on of characters. I found it an interesting piece to read as someone who has been kind of distant from the classification in the past.
Recently Watched #
I’ve been keeping up with Occult Academy and Giant Killing and enjoying both a lot. Occult Academy seemed to have a good ending considering it’s an original anime – episode 11 & 12 introduced some new plot points and had its main resolution – the series will wrap up tomorrow. There’s no indication of what the next Anime no Chikara project – looks it’s not entirely dead but just taking a break.
I would like to see Giant Killing get another season later – Chris Beveridge of Mania estimated in his episode 26 article that this series covered the first 11 of the existing 16 manga volumes. It’s one of the best sports anime I’ve seen with focuses on teamwork, ambition, strategy, and characters. I might write more thoroughly about it later.
I’m somewhat behind on a few other simulcasts – Asobi ni Iku yo! and Highschool of the Dead – and part of that is being slightly demotivated by fanservice despite both series having good core elements: Asobi has gunners Manami & Aoi and a light summer tinge that doesn’t feel as sleazy as it could be (dogs vs. cats theme is odd, though) while HSOTD has well-animated horror/action by Madhouse. I strangely don’t mind the camera-location pantyshots in HSOTD but it *can* be a bit annoying when I notice them. I’ll finish both at my own pace, maybe by the end of the year.
- I’m up to episode 6 of Eden of the East through Funimation’s streaming offerings (Hulu/YouTube) and though I like the mystery of the shadowy machine behind the Seleção, there’s something empty about the series keeping “like” from flipping over to “love”.
- Watched some more HEROMAN up to ep. 11 – the Skrugg arc is now over but Joey’s sister Holly has come back to town and is getting on his nerves. Action is still good and I think another arc will start in a few episodes.
- Began watching Fruits Basket subtitled on Hulu last month and thought it had an okay start in its first two episodes. I liked Kyo’s manly voice (supplied by Tomokazu Seki) and Akito sounded androgynous, which I guess is the point? Maybe I should sample the dub as well. This is a show I plan to watch in small chunks.
- I found Gunsmith Cats on DVD at a Book-Off in Torrance, watched it and really liked it. Solid action in a three-episode self-contained arc. I’ll probably re-watch it again with the dub and also try to listen to the commentary track by ADR director Matt Greenfield and Tiffany Grant (Becky Farrah). The half-hour “making of” extra had Kenichi Sonoda explaining why he chose a Shelby Cobra for Rally’s ride and a part about the production visiting a Chicago police department to handle guns.
Fall Season Interests #
The new anime season is almost upon us and there are a number of series I want to check out. There are three detective shows: SoreMachi (SHAFT), Psychic Detective Yakumo (Bee Train), and Milky Holmes (J.C. Staff). I want to see what Gainax does with Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt – I’ve liked what I’ve seen of the Newtype & Young Ace comics – and also how Kuragehime turns out as the latest noitaminA series. I’m also kind of interested in Ore no Imouto for the tsundere lead female. Not quite hyped about Bakuman, The World Only God Knows, or Star Driver but I may give those a sample as well.
[Moetron listing of premiere dates/times]
Adjusting a Resolution #
One of the new year’s resolutions I made for this year was to watch 50 movies/OVA’s mentioned in Helen McCarthy’s 500 Essential Anime Movies that I hadn’t seen before - FLCL and Cat Soup were among the exclusions. So far, as September is coming to a close, I have only seen four. Therefore, I am revising my goal down to a more achievable 25, which I should be able to make with the DVD’s I have and stuff on streaming services. (I may cheat a little with Human Crossing since each episode has its own entry in the book.)