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Happy New Year 2011 (and a lookback at 2010 in anime)

Happy New Year 2011

You know the drill.

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ANN and fansubs

This is just too good to pass up:

ANN

Yeah… okay, sure…

Excuse me while I appreciate the irony sarcasm joke whatever this is.

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An Open Secret

j1m0ne:

Simply put, I’m bored of this whole seiyuu thing. Extremely bored. Horrors(!), you say? Well, it’s not the first time and it certainly won’t be the last I ever say anything like that; my interest tends to come and go in cycles and at the moment I’ve hit a deep trough and I certainly don’t see a V-shaped recovery on the cards. Looking through these rose-tinted glasses, I offer pithy complaints about how the seiyuu industry in 2010 is 腐ってる and populated by shitty people who can’t even get the basics of voice acting right (no concept of enunciation or phrasing and heck, some of them don’t even possess voices that are suitable for anime or game characters) as reasons for my boredom.

I don’t know (and I don’t want to know) how many cocks Omigawa Chiaki has sucked to get where she is or how many Yukichis Music Ray’n are stuffing down producers’ throats to get their seiyuu employed, how dumbass agencies are looking at the ¥ signs and fast-tracking hopelessly out-of-depth teenagers even if they posses the talent of a farting mongoose, how more than 60% of shows are moe crap that only requires seiyuu to produce voices as freakishly high-pitched as possible, preferably while inserting random nyaas and nyaans into every other sentence, how some of the best seiyuu from just 3-4 years ago are already being sidelined (Nakahara Mai, Saito Chiwa, Ueda Kana etc etc) in favour of the kids. Heaven help us if Taketatsu Ayana is supposed to be one of the best young things the industry can offer.

This season is a good example of how annoying the whole situation has become, with voice acting in some autumn anime so atrocious that I’d be willing to watch Cantonese dubs just to escape Omigawa’s voice (alternatively, I guess I should just stop watching Shaft anime). I can name maybe 2 or 3 performances worth looking out for (Nakamura Yuichi in OreImo, the leads in Zakuro). The only time I’ve found myself getting really excited about an anime cast in recent memory was when I was marathoning Black Lagoon (Koyama, Toyoguchi & Tomizawa are so effin awesome!)…and none of those seiyuu are getting regular anime jobs these days.

Well, honestly, the quality of the “popular” seiyuu nowadays are pretty much an open secret anyways. Now it’s more about looks and marketability than real voice acting talent. Heck, I think most wannabe-idols prefer to go down the seiyuu route as a shortcut to popularity/success rather than actually being one to cater and please the masses of raving otageis abound. And then you also get people like O-mi-gawd Chiaki. I wonder who the fuck thought she was good. Guess the face distracted them too much.

I’ll have to say, while I share the same sentiment at the dearth of talent in the “popular” seiyuus nowadays, I’m not as negative as j1m0ne is. There are some nice voice talents about. I genuinely like Kana Hanazawa, as overused as she is, but at least she is truly working out as a seiyuu instead of branching out in to the idol-latry shit (looking at you there, Sphere, Mu-Ray). And Sphere also has some okay people I guess. Aki Toyosaki and Haruka Tomatsu at least sound decent enough most of the time. But I still hate their singing and “idol” exposure.

Truth to be told, I actually don’t care for much about the “idol” aspects of the seiyuus nowadays. I understand it helps to supplement their meager income, no wait, it’s probably their main income in any case, but I hate the focus on their looks and “personalities” more than anything else. I really don’t care about their personal lifestyle. Sure hearing about them burning a kettle or two or having a fake wedding makes for fun news, but that’s not my focus.

And I really miss the elder generation of female seiyuus. I’m not saying we should lapse back to the time when Noto-sama was in about 5 shows per season per year and Hocchan was like the rage of the industry, but they’ve been getting so little leading roles of late, I’m just watching random shit where they are minor characters with about 6 lines per episode just to hear them. Even Bitch Tsundere Queen Kugimiya’s missing lately too. Now, those were voices that really made me moé for them. Thank god Mai Nakahara’s gotten a lifeline this season with Otome Youkai Zakuro.

Even the male seiyuu are hell lot more consistent in quality than their female counterparts. Although, I guess being a male seiyuu means that:

a. You are going to be worshipped by legions of fujoshi’s and constantly play BL fantasies.
b. You are going to be generic male harem lead no. 3457.
c. You are relegated to random minor role– oh wait Takehito Koyasu has the monopoly on that.

Still, when I think people like Mamoru Miyano are better than half his female colleagues this season… it sure shows how bad things have become.

I guess we shouldn’t totally blame this on the poor girls though. It’s generally a fact that anime is slowly declining in quality over the years and the number of productions every year keeps going down. I guess it’s just a confluence of a lot of factors.

tl;dr female seiyuus nowadays sell body instead of talent, therefore they suck.

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“Slice-of-life” or “Ambience”?

Cake!

Cake is always welcome

Nova started and omo followed up.

Which inspired me to think of this way; why is the genre called “slice-of-life”?

Sure, it usually attempts to present characters in a daily life based setting, but usually they can lean to more fantastical (Kino no Tabi, Mushishi) or sci-fi-ish (ARIA, YKK) bents.

In fact, the Japanese term for these types of shows are “kuuki-kei“, that roughly translates to “atmosphere/ambience-type”, and that term is really quite spot-on as a term describing those types of shows.

So why don’t we all just call it “ambience” anime? It’s much more accurate and a better term to describe them than “slice-of-life”; which in most cases, usually isn’t quite correct for most of them. Truly, their selling points are the settings and the pull they have towards the viewers, rather than the characters or the plotlines.

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“SUPPORT THE FUCKING PUBLISHERS!”

Pixiv

You know what, I am sick of moralfags looking down on people because they read scanlations online. More than 60% of scanlations probably don’t have even have an English market, and the English market wouldn’t even have existed if not for scanlations.

I am sick of moralfags preaching about buying original merchandise of a certain area when they themselves pirate almost everything else. Then they also look down on people for reading scanlations online.

I am sick of the whole “TEH INDUSTRY IS DYING BECUZ PEOPLE STEAL STUFF FROM THE INTERWEBS!” gospel. God knows the industry wouldn’t have actually come this far without the Internet acting as a catalyst to spread it further.

I am sick of outdated Intellectual Property laws that seem to protect the creators but are actually used to enrich the rights-holders (in many cases the recording/publishing/production company) without ACTUALLY fairly giving the REAL creators their share.

I am sick of the moralfags that just pretty much act like asses just because their buying power is greater than people in third world countries without any regard for how much inequalities exist in the world economy.

Fuck all these. I do and will continue to buy original merchandise that I deem worthy enough to justify the enormous expense. Otherwise I am quite comfortable with reading scanlations and watching fansubs/raws as they come off the Internet. If there’s anything really good, then I WILL SUPPORT THE FUCKING INDUSTRY EVEN IF IT’S GOING TO COST ME HALF A MONTH’S WORTH OF LUNCH MONEY. I’m not just gonna crawl under a fucking rock just because I don’t have enough money to BUY EVERY FUCKING CONTENT I CONSUME.

Otherwise, fuck off and get the fuck off your fucking high horse before you start preaching about SUPPORTING THE FUCKING INDUSTRY. Are you even sure you’re not consuming any illegal content at all? Think about it, moralfags.

</rant>

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The real Amagami SS 03 post

Amagami SS

… are you one of them?

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Evangelion 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance

Evangelion 2.22

Got to tip my hat off the sugoi-ness of Amazon.jp and DHL International Express, my Blu-Ray arrived right on the morning of May 26th even though I am like a whole hemisphere away from Japan!

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2D Lolicon Art: Harmless fun or dangerous thought crime?

Kawaii

Pic unrelated to content.

Recently there has been a huge hoohaa about the fact that certain countries are actively prosecuting and/or passing bills that are criminalizing 2D lolicon pornography materials (“materials” because it covers a wide range of media). I don’t think I need quote examples here, since anyone who is reading this is probably of the same demographic that cares about this issue at hand.

To be honest, most of the news really does not affect me, mainly because I am living in a country that is more concerned about other bread-butter issues, and we lack the free time from the politicking around to actually care about stuff like this. Therefore, I am pretty disconnected as to the impacts of those laws being passed in their country of origin. That’s not to say I will be not affected if those are passed, since it would make the materials harder to procure and to enjoy in a guiltless manner, haha.

Well, my personal stance is pretty passive about this issue, but I do think that censorship of any material, will in the end, backfire and cause more damage than it would have been if it wasn’t. For one, it’s almost impossible to police thought “crimes” (until someone invents mind-reading machines, and then I wish I will long and dearly departed by then, because it would fucking creepy if someone snooped through my head), and many “crimes” aren’t really criminal as such as just being anti-establishment. I think history has a loooooooong story to tell us about the “thought criminals” and how exactly such people have prevailed in the end. The current situation on the Internet is one such example of their legacy, but even now that is being threatened from many fronts.

I really think that the true issue behind the debate of criminalizing 2D lolicon art isn’t about the content. If you ask me, it is terribly hard to justify those materials, even if you claim it’s just merely a fantasy and for private consumption bla bla bla, but about the possibility of the act of censorship being extended to whatever subject that doesn’t conform to the current establishment’s ideals. China is a pretty good example of the future of the Internet if the worst case scenario happens, so it’s actually funny how people who can condemn China’s censorship policies can and will support the ban on 2D lolicon art.

Perhaps I am not exactly the right person to elaborate on this topic, mainly because I am not as much of a fluent debater as I would like to be, nor am I a very passionate activist for my beliefs and thoughts. Komidol of the Orange Farm has written a very long post explaining how to campaign against this, and Yes to Freedom is another good resource for anti-censorship supporters.

Finally I would say, rather than blocking access to undesirable material, it is better to educate people from young about the best way to differentiate good and bad. After all, if you give a man a fish, he will be full that day, but teach him how to fish, and he’ll never go hungry again.

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Bullying in the playground.

Found this over Twitter:

Working!! seems to be the latest victim of some bloggers who delight in harshly criticizing certain animes. Since I’m relatively new to this world, I didn’t really notice this trend until last year, when I saw that suddenly many bloggers were making fun and criticizing the anime Kampfer – I almost decided not to watch it, but something caught my attention. That was that in a very short span of time, several blogs had panned it, often in a similar style and only after watching one episode. Of course, after watching it I realized it wasn’t half as bad as they said it was. In my old blog I termed this the “wolf pack mentality” of some bloggers.

Here we should make a distinction between not liking an anime and bullying. It’s fine if you don’t like K-ON or Working! or Kampfer and write about that. You comment why you don’t like it, fine. However, many people just enjoy bullying both the show and its viewers. It appears that certain blogs exist with the sole purpose of criticizing shows all the time, and I wonder why those people watch shows they don’t like – is it only so they have material to criticize? And if you only watched a couple of episodes and then dropped it, why keep talking over and over about it?

In fact, this is related to elitism. You don’t gain respect -that is, you don’t look like you have good taste- if you don’t criticize a show every week. Elitism, criticism and taste equating that there are some shows, especially popular ones, that you must criticize just for the sake of building and maintaining a reputation. I dealt with this in another essay.

Personally I’ve been trying to avoid this, to actually look positive, ever since I started this blog. There is a scene in Aria the Origination where Alice-chan is talking with Alicia-san and she asks why Alicia never gets angry when Akari (or even Aria-shachou) makes a mistake.

I want to do something like that. I prefer to focus on the positive qualities of any show I follow – it doesn’t mean I won’t say I didn’t like something, but I won’t insist on that, I don’t want some black aura coming out of my blog. And if I don’t really like a show, I will just quietly drop it, maybe comment why I dropped it, and end of the story. For example, Queen’s Blade. I dropped it, I didn’t like it. Should I make fun of it -and its viewers- every week?

Source: My extended anime “tweets”

QFT’ed.

This is why when people ask me about Omamori Himari or Negima anime… OH WAIT THEY DON’T EXIST.

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My Spring 2010 Season Guide

Watch everything that sounds remotely interesting to you.
Drop those that suck after the 3rd episode.

After all, who coulda thought that Hanamaru Kindergarten would end up one of the hits of last season? Certainly not by just reading these silly season previews I reckon.

That’s why I never really write them out for my blog. You never know what turns out good and what turns out shit in the end.

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