Tuesday Check-In: August 22, 2017

I read volume 1 of Kore Yamazaki’s The Ancient Magus’ Bride tonight, partly because Yamazaki is a guest of honor at this weekend’s Crunchyroll Expo in Santa Clara, California. I had heard praise for that manga over the past couple years but didn’t know much about it. This first volume engaged me with its characters (mage Elias, his apprentice Chise, and Elias’ various acquaintances), fantastical creatures, and recurring talk about magic gradually fading out of practice.

Kore Yamazaki is scheduled to talk on Saturday afternoon about her career & other projects and she will also participate in a Sunday preview event for the upcoming Ancient Magus’ Bride anime series. (The three-day schedule is available on the official website and through the Guidebook app.)

I’ve been thinking about how Crunchyroll Expo appears to be organized more like a media expo than like a fan-run convention. Many of its guests have prior connections to Crunchyroll or its parent companies (Otter Media and Ellation): Rooster Teeth and Cartoon Hangover appear on the VRV video service (operated by Ellation); some of the YouTube “influencers” have Crunchyroll free trial affiliate links or sponsored videos; and upcoming anime series Kino’s Journey, Juni Taisen, URAHARA, and The Ancient Magus’ Bride have already been announced as simulcasts on Crunchyroll. Please note that I’m not implying any of the guests are not worthy of being invited; I’m just being conscious of its promotional aspects and how different my experience might be compared to Fanime or Otakon.

Anyway, I plan to be in Santa Clara all weekend so if you’re also going to be there, please say “Hi!”

Tuesday Check-In: August 15, 2017

One of the few non-violent scenes in the 2000 Battle Royale film

I re-watched the first Battle Royale film, accompanied by a Giant Bomb subscriber-only audio supplement. (That website’s staff has enjoyed playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds a lot in recent months and that game has some noticeable Battle Royale influences.) I think I appreciated the movie more now compared to when I first saw it in college.

There is a flashback scene involving two students and one of them is reading manga while lying on a bunk bed. He’s holding a volume of Slam Dunk and there are a couple stacks of manga behind him. I was watching on a stream through Shudder so it was hard to make out some of the titles in those stacks, but I think the tall stack in the far back with red titles on a white background as a Young King Comics series, thanks to the gold “YK” at the top of the spines. Continue reading

Monday Check-In: July 31, 2017

Motoko and Batou at a bar in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

I have been watching Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex with a few friends (a re-watch, in my case) and the themes of some episodes feel a little close to reality than when I first watched S.A.C. a decade ago, e.g. an owner of a outdated android wanting to eliminate all other androids of the same model so his would become unique; unauthorized organ donations; hacking of cyber-implants. Motoko’s standard on-duty outfit has stood out to me as out-of-place compared to what her fellow Section 9 agents wear and the series’ English insert songs felt jarring while I was watching with Japanese dialogue, but I am enjoying the action and technological aspects of the series. Continue reading

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.
Continue reading