Monday, March 27, 2006

Mai-Hime - 01 Loving This...

Series: Mai Hime
Genre: Fantase, School Life
Status: Recommended

Stage: Episode 5
Post Type: Reflection

I really love anime, I really do. I found myself crying with this one. Not because it was particularly sad but rather just very touching. Very few mediums and very few anime can capture my attention such as this. Not because of the action but simply the characters. They are so deep and they have so many dimensions. Unlike many series where characters are introduced and remain generally static throughout the series series, where they assign it an archtype, a cliche, a type of character and stick with it throughout the series here they weave a complex tale of characters where there is not only conflict with an unknown enemy but within oneself. I trully love the execution here.

I really did cry at this one. The strength the characters show is impressive. I am not talking about DBZ-ish power levels but rather strength at an emotional level that I feel many characters seem to lack. While the characters here are no slacks in physical combat the level of emotional strain and the hardships the main character in particular goes through are just so much. As I said before in what I hated about characters Kasimasi ~Girl Meets Girl~, the metaphysical weakness of some fo the characters, I now love both the Mai-Hime & Mai-Otome characters in their strength.

An amazing plot is one thing but how you unfold it is another. How characters are developed, how each layer of depth is revealed, and the conflict my God the conflict both internal adn external. It is just so powerful. Mai, amidst the uncertanty of her new school and finding out she is a HiME struggles juggling part time jobs to support her sickly brother after loosing her parents to the same affliction as a child. It is just so powerful...

I am trully loving this...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

General Blog - Purists

Series: General
Subjects: Anime, Manga, Fans
Post Type: Blog

I have been thinking and while browsing ANN and viewing the upcoming manga releases and following forum comments the labels attacked after the names brought up an issue that has been mildly bugging me since anime club at lunch today. The Anime or Simply Japan Purists.

Isn't it enought to simply like the style, the art, and the story? What does it matter what country it hails from so long as it is high quality? What bugs me about some fans is the blind hatred to OELs, Ameri-manga, World Manga, Manwha or whatever other tags we deem neccisary to label perfectly good series with. It took me months to get my friend Hupio to read Megatokyo and that was only after associating it as a webcomic much like the American VGcats I knew he was already a fan to. Granted, I have not found a single OEL I have liked besides Megatokyo but surely they are not ALL bad right? OELs I can understand to an extent as I don't like many of them myself but what really bugs is that I am probably the only person I know who owns Manwha.

I believe the Korean counterpart to Manga, this Manwha can be equally high quality and whose storytelling can evenly match many of their Japanese cousins. Over the past months I had to steadly work to get my friends to even read what I beleive to be great Manwha titles like King of Hell, Ragnarok, PhD:Phantasy Degree, & my personal favorite iD_eNTITY.Even after reading them and having them admit tehy are at least 'good' I am still the only one who dares own let alone display these non-Japanese items on my bookshelf.

Beyond just my anime and manga I heard a deep collective sigh of disapointment from the back of the room as we palyed a newly aquired DVD in anime club and they found it to be a dub after the opening theme.

I dunno the idea of being a "purist" just gets to me. Do you like it simply because its Japanese? Is it because you are "hardcore"? I mean can't we all just like a series for what it is, what it presents us and the series' true substance rather than simply where it came from. I mean maybe I just look for different things in my anime & manga then other people. I myself love characters, story adn plot. I love to see the conflicts, the characters and how they progress through a story. Sure artwork can be a major factor but don't tell me that Manwha is bad so much that it is different comapred to many Japanese styles. I do mean styles BTW because I realize that even in Japan there are many different styles, about as many as there are mangaka. Can't we judge by a series by series basis rather than just the region or genre it belongs to?

I just don't get it. Maybe I am just looking at things differently than most everyone I know IRL.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Mai-Otome - 01 Great but...

Series: Mai-Otome
Genres: Fantasy, School Life
Status: Recommended

Stage: Episode 16
Post Type: Examination

Wow I must say this is a great anime. The characters are deep, their development is smooth, and the plot is intriguing. Animation, sound, story it is all great. If this anime continues as strong as it has been and keeps on with the excellent pacing and development this will turn out to be an amazing anime simply because it all works. Though I have grim feelings as childlike innocence will soon be lost and... The fecal matter is about to hit the circular rotary device. Even with this foreboding feeling if they can tie this series up well and execute the reality kick flawlessly this will be a series that I would have no problem recommending to everyone.

Beyond this however there is one thing that has been bothering me. Well two thing actually.

At the age of 14 is this considered Loli? Not that this series has any major lolicon but its more of a childlike crush thingy and it is somewhat disturbing when I think of it.

Secondly there is the issue I have with the Otome. The Otome are supposed to act as idols to the citizens, bodyguards to kings, and occasionally warriors. While this is all find and dandy I just somehow feel that this series objectizes women with these whole Otome ideals. The Otome teachers tell these girls no older than 14 that the goal of their lives is to please and protect their 'masters' and like. They are taught to be these strong and beautiful and in order to maintain their position they MUST remain virgins, any contact with males will do something to their nanomachines that grants them their powers. (something bout Y chromosomes, hormones, and averse effects to the nanomachines) Because they can not love they are taught to take their passion and throw it into the complete and utter devotion to their masters and that they exist to fulfill his or her will for by contract and the jewels that bind master and Otome.

I really do not get the whole maid-complex thing I guess that is just not my thing. In here it seems that the teachers are trying to teach the students to be cookie cutter objects for nobles and leaders to simply be used. Sure it is not like this at all times and thank God Arika is not the best student at these things but when I took a hiatus in my marathon of Mai-Otome the thought just lingered. I predict it might play a vital plot to the plot later on but ATM it is just disturbing. Maybe more unnerving than the maid-complex thing is the fact that I actually feel this way. I am by no means some avid feminist. It is my stance that "A Vindication of the Rights of Women", a famous feminist work by Mary Wollstonecraft, is the biggest load of trash I have ever been forced to read by the American school system. Saying this the fact that it even disturbed me in the first place well... disturbs me?

Gah! I will quit while I am ahead. I don't even know if I am making sense. Maybe I need sleep. I don't think staying up watching this series till 3:30 am on a school night was such a great idea afterall...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Kasimasi - 01 Hating...

Series: Kasimasi ~Girl Meets Girl~
Genre: Romance Genre
Status: Recommended

Stage: Episode 05
Post Type: Reflection

The drama of this series really lays on. While initially it started out as a bubbly romance the series deepens with continued character development. From bubbly romance to romantic drama there is some serious plot.

One thing I love about anime is when they really draw out you, the viewer's, emotions. I dunno but Kasimasi with a combination of the right music and drama really drew me in as the drama progressed until I reached the point where I could almost parallel with the characters and trully see their feelings. As I harmonized and began to understand the characters, a true feat in storytelling, I had some very disturbing thoughts and the series drew out some very strong feelings from me.

I dunno why but for some reason by the end of episode 7 I really started to hate Yasuna. Not because she was a bitch but I started to hate her for her weakness. Hating her for the same reasons she hated herself.

She had done 2 things that are big no nos in my book. 1.) she went into denial & 2.) she hurt the main character and now wants forgiveness.
She not being able to handle her father all of a sudden convinced herself that her father was not there, that she could not see her father, likewise when she was bullied as a child she denied that they were even there. Unable to face her fears she ran away from them and placed a mental block and truly could not make out the faces of any males in her life. Because of her she ruined her parent's relationship, because of her she truly hurt the main character, the only male she could see in years because of her cowardice.

Personally I find such cowardly characters disgusting. It would have been alright if she just stayed in a corner and isolated herself but because of her fears she seriously hurt Hazumu. But beyond simply hating Yasuna I find myself hating Hazumu as well for being so oblivious and her/him for being so weak. Here we have Tomari who truly loves him, cares for him and has done so much for them since they were children and (s)he ignores her for that bitch Yasuna. (S)He was taking Yasuna who loves him for what he ahs becoem (a girl) over Tomari who loves him for what he was and is truly...

I guess that I have developed such strong feeligns in a mere 7 episodes is a tesimate to how this series has really drawn me in...

Kasimasi ~Girl Meets Girl~ - Intro

Well here is the general lowdown of this series so you can get the general drift how things are laid out.

The series is based around Osaragi Hazumu. Though at the begining male (!)(yea yea we will get to that) he was not the most manly of men. Short, slight build, and with cofnidence issues the guy has virtually no self esteem. His two friends Kurusu Tomari & Sora Hotoshi finnaly get him worked up enough to confess his love to his crush Kamiizumi Yasuna. Apparently she is a lesbian or at least afraid of male and though Hazumu is somewhat 'feminine' he is a guy so a "sorry" is all she can give though her heart may say otherwise. Being regected Hazumu runs to the local hills to retreat in wildlife, forget about his rejection, and ultimatly cry to himslef. From atop the hills he sees what appears so be a shooting star. Making a wish to be more manly the star gets brighter and brighter till eventually he can see it is spaceship! The spaceship crash lands right into his face severly inguring him. The 'aliens' are able to regenerate him but it seems in the process they got hsi sex wrong and the process was unreversable!

I guess this works out well for Yasuna but apparently Tomari had a secret crush on the male Hazumi that even she didn't realize! Then Hotoshi has to deal with the fact his former best friend that he was training to be more manly is all of a sudden a VERY cute girl. 0.o;;

How will they deal with this? What will happen Hazumi? And OMFG the aliens are still here?

AnimeThoughts - First Impressions

Once you get over the initial OMFG he is a she now stage, which is quite funny the way they transition, this series turns into a great romantic drama with comedy. It starts off a bit buubly but as the drama lays on it gets more and more of a dramatic romance and well really gets heavy. Not heavy in a bad way but it become a serious drama and really has earned my 'Ario's Stamp o Approval' as things stand. With 7 episodes outstanding & 3 manga in Japanese I look foward to the future. More tomments to come I look foward to more.