Thursday, December 24, 2009
As a part of ReverseThieves' Secret Santa review project, a number of anime bloggers such as myself got together and swapped suggestions. We each were given an anime blogger and had to examine their MyAnimeList to choose 3 shows that the blogger had not seen. These shows could be no longer than 26 episodes long. Lastly, we could not know who was giving us these recommendations, and thus ReverseThieves' delivered the suggestions to each blogger. After receiving the 3 recommendations we were tasked with choosing 1 to review.
The shows recommended to me were Kanon (2006), Sola, and Dennōu Coil. Out of these choices Kanon is the only one I was at all familiar with. I had a general idea of the story and knew that eventually I would watch this show; therefore, I wanted to defer this choice and choose one I was much less familiar with. That led me to Sola and Dennōu Coil. Again I knew very little about either, but just from the first few minutes of Dennōu Coil I saw the use of cyber-technology and I knew, being an IT person, that this might be of interest to me. Indeed it was, and I must truly thank my Secret Santa for recommending this, and and the other two anime to me. While I might still wait to get to the other shows, I've watched Dennōu Coil and truly enjoyed the experience I might not otherwise have had.
Dennōu Coil: Review
Like so many anime about Japan, the story takes place in an alternate reality, where nearly everything is be digitized. Pets, limbs, traffic, and so much more is all connected. Simply put on a pair of cyber glasses and anyone can enter into this elaborate world that the naked eye cannot see. On a day to day basis, the adults seem to take use of the digitization merely for convenience, if at all, but for the kids this these glasses let them enter into the most elaborate playground of all. For the 6th grader Yuko, the female lead of the anime, the city of Daikoku where she has moved to is the most fascinating of all the cities, due to the heightened connections and fluxes between the city and the cyber world.
The story initially highlights Yuko's transition into this city, and the friendships she makes with kids at her school who have become fairly skilled at hacking for their amusement. However with the introduction of a new student, and expert 'hacker', known as Isako, strange occurrences begin to increase. Likewise Haraken, a fellow student, is searching to find out more about the death of a classmate potentially due to what's presumed to be a virus, aka an Illegal, and in doing so leads the kid's into territory that is potentially quite dangerous. As the show progresses, and the kids immerse themselves more and more into the digital world, we're left wondering what awaits them - exciting new discoveries or dark pasts and even darker futures?
This balance between adolescence, mystery, and mass-digitization is what grabbed me from the start, and continued throughout to be a powerful draw to keep watching. In fact, I'd say the story itself is really the primary draw. The show has bare-bone animation styling, purposeful I'm sure, and is no way meant to be watched on beauty alone. Additionally, one might assume that since the story is all about kids that there can be little depth; however, that is far from the truth. Instead, much like with Evangelion and 20th Century Boys, the acts of children can have great consequences. With 20th Century Boys especially I see a parrallel with Dennōu Coil, particularly when Yuko's past as an even younger child seems to contain information she's not even aware of that's connected to mysteries in the present. This dichotomy
of time adds to the allure, and is just yet another reason why Dennōu Coil kept me wanting more.
In summary, I sensed a pattern in the shows suggested to me, being that of kids. In anime, unlike cartoons, these kids experience many of the difficulties that ordinary kids do, and at times even more so. That said Dennōu Coil did a fantastic job portraying coming-of-age emotions in an alternate reality, an in doing so reminded me what anime is and what it should be. Dennōu Coil is what anime should be, and I'm thankful it was recommended to me, and I'd like to recommend it to anyone wanting to explore the at times wacky, but always wondrous, world of Dennōu Coil.
Monday, December 21, 2009
That occasion? Reverse Thieves Secret Santa Anime project!
Reverse Thieves's site describes the project best but essentially a bunch of anime bloggers opted in and, per Secret Santa protocol, are recommending shows to watch to one another. We each had to go to our 'Secret' person's MyAnimeList page and find 3 shows they hadn't watched, at or under 26 episodes, that we felt the person would like. Following that we are sent our recommendations by proxy and then we choose 1 to watch and review for December 24th/25th. At that time we will post our review of the show we chose.
Ultimately all that, while perhaps interesting, is just my lead-in for this. Expect an anime review here for the show I chose from my Secret Santa's recommendations. I'll likely end up hosting it at the new site too, but since this is the one I listed I'll certainly post it here first.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I hope to bring much of what I brought in this blog to the site only perhaps with more spell checking and grammar checking going on. ;) All in all, this should be a good time and I'm looking forward to our full release of the site!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I know I've been absent once again, but I have good news at least for me. I think I am at a point in my life where, while I'll likely be busy quite soon hopefully with a transition from a part-time to a full-time job, I will not be tied down to the same pressing deadlines that have affected me these past few months.
That said I have also gotten myself even more involved in more projects than before, although perhaps enough have fallen to the wayside to make up for it. Essentially though I am now working staff at my local anime convention, i.e. JAMPcon! For those who may have read my posts before, you probably already know this but the original plan for JAMPcon '09 has been put off till JAMPcon '10. In fact, we're essentially starting over from scratch in a lot of ways, which while disappointing I know allows for JAMPcon to save on overhead fees, while also giving me and other JAMPers more time to go to Persacon this summer in Alabama. My official title is Head Assistant, but what I do varies. I think I got this position because I kept hassling our fine president, Veggie-Trunks, about little things here and there, questions I wanted answered, con prep. I was concerned about, and lo and behold that's put me in a position of responsibility. I guess that's my punishment;) Seriously though I love what I'm doing with the con, and while I know sometimes people forget that putting on a con takes up personal time, money, effort, and love, especially when the con actually takes place, I feel anything sacrificed on my part will only lead to another person's good time :D I do apologize to any friends who may read this that there are very good reasons why I cannot tell you what I know (which is truly the little I know), but by all means message Veggie to see if you can become staff ^_^ Just expect to put in some work, which I know even for me is usally when I just gradually back away..., but if you want to be in well power = responsibility, even if the power is small and the responsibility's significant. Like I said though I'm truly enjoying this process and yeah we're a year out (May 21st-23rd, 2010) but we have 2 fine guests, Travis Willingham, known as Col. Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist and many other awesome characters, and Vic Mignona, known as Ed from Fullmetal Alchemist, also along with many other truly awesome characters (believe me I'd start to list them but really they've done so much it'd be hard to stop!) So by all means go to www.jampcon.net and check out the site, sign-up for the forum at http://jamp.forums-free.com/, or check out our twitter (yes twitter) at http://twitter.com/jampcon.
Details of what I've done lately are admittedly quite lengthy too, so I'll just say that I believe since this writing I've gone to two cons, Daigacon and MTAC, and had tons of fun at both. Ever since MTAC last year I have gone to every con as press, thanks to my radio show, and at Daigacon I was able to interview Jason Thompson, author of Manga: the Complete Guide, as well as Mark Henry, Con Director for Daigacon '09, and then I was also able to get some short drops from Josh Grelle (Voice Actor) and Chris Ayres (Voice Actor). You can hear those all at www.myspace.com/tokyotowerfm. They are all awesome people and truly helped make Daigacon an awesome experience, especially Mark of course poor guy putting it on (I now know a little more of your labors!), and I sure hope to be back next year!
MTAC was a blast too but largely thanks to my many friends, old and new, that I was able to see :) I did go to an inordinate amount of panels and on Saturday I actually went to 4 separate concerts, 5 total for the weekend, while still checking out the MTAC Idol, Super Sentai panel, Bleach & Naruto photo shoots, Voice Actor extravaganza panel, and lastly getting to meet and getting a radio drop from Jeff Nimoy, known for voicing Wolfwood from Trigun and his Adventures in Anime work, alongside Quinton Flynn, a voice actor as well. I got an absurd amount of video, and quite a number of pictures too, so if you'd like check the vids out at www.youtube.com/zippydj and the pics at www.flickr.com/millermz. (Sorry for all the links - I'm not trying to plug myself I guess, but I just have stuff to show... that's my story ^_^)
Now like I said I'm slowing down my work load, and actually after this week that will dramatically decrease, excluding the job search which has just begun. The Tokyo Tower j-rock/j-pop radio show me and a friend host is still going strong, and while we're online streaming only now if you're reading this hopefully that won't be a problem. We're on every Wednesday night from 9 to 11pm eastern, and yes shameless plug here for sure but the link is at www.wawl.org - just click on the listen link (if you have any problems e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sadly I have not been watching a lot of anime, although that will change too. I am currently keeping up with Bleach and Naruto: Shippuden, the manga of those too, and I am watching the new Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood revisioning of the original on Funimation's website, while also checking out the new Dragonball Z revisioning, which is called Dragonball Kai. Speaking of Dragonball did anyone see the movie Dragonball Evolution? About 7 of my friends and I made it into a fun group event, and while my brother felt the movie was worth than the Twilight film, I think those of us who had actually seen Dragonball thought "well it's no Dragonball movie really, but it's at least entertaining" while I don't even know what my friends thought who didn't know of Dragonball prior to this. Probably just, well that's weird (a legitimate reaction let me tell you).
That's where I'm at now, bordering between closing a chapter in my life, opening up a new, hopefully financially secure one preferably around where I'm at now, while the whole time teetering on the balance beam that is the RightStuff.com bargain sale. Totally crazy... hard to resist... the power! That's everything in a nutshell. Sorry for being so slow.
Monday, March 9, 2009
It’s time again for my con review. Been awhile I know, especially since I skipped out on doing one for this past AWA, but perhaps since ConNooga’s a bit closer to home, or because so much just went on, I feel it deserves a full rundown. That said, I've decided to split this into parts to ensure I get this completed. So here's part 1.
As I try to do with most cons, I got to ConNooga early and had little difficulty registering. Now ConNooga’s not huge enough yet to have many of the registration troubles, but pre-reg which is what I did helped of course. So my pass & press pass attached, I met up with the first of many friends I’d hang out with over the course of the weekend, and that’s Propmaster John. John and I just sort of surveyed the area at first to familiarize ourselves for the weekend ahead. First, we went to the Anime room and saw that Advent Children was playing in the anime screening room. Then we stopped at the game room, which was already getting a small crowd so we decided to hold off on our Guitar Hero skills for the moment, so as not to totally embarrass ourselves quite yet. All the while, I we chatted with some of the various staff I’d met either through the radio show or just because of last year’s ConNooga, which was fun too because clearly I knew more of them then I realized.
We made sure to check out the dealer’s room too, and like last year I was quite impressed with what there was to offer. Anime seemed to have a greater presence, while Star Wars seemed to pervade across the floor. Having not met Brian there yet, my dealer room specialist due to his less shy, casual demeanor with dealers, John and I casually walked around looking at some of the items without buying anything at that time. I did take some notes of dealers I would absolutely have to return to, but as I said we moved on before lightening our wallets right then.
At this point John, who was only able to be there for a short while Friday, took off as I met up with another friend Nate. Nate was nice enough to loan me his extremely nice camera, and I do feel I was taking fair advantage of it at that point, especially by taking pictures of some of the many cosplayers who were arriving. Knowing he’s the skilled one though, I returned the camera to him, and being his first con, we then discussed what we should attend. Sharing similar interests in tech stuff, and having a friend suggesting this panel, we decided on going to the Podcast Panel. I had attended this panel last year, and indeed I was curious if this was led by the same people by before, and I was glad to see this was indeed true. The panelists, perhaps because they are podcasters, were very easygoing and the conversation flow came quite naturally. I learned even more than I realized, as an avid podcaster fan myself, predominantly because there seemed to be an audiophile in the audience asking some good specific questions, and also because there were many more technological advancements in podcasting than I could even realize would occur in a years time. We chatted with them afterwards, and I know that evening I made sure to check some of the sites they’d mentioned to see if perhaps one day I myself might need them to assist with a podcast of my own.
Having had a decently long day at work, I didn’t really have too many plans for anything else that specific, so for the little time left that evening I met up with a couple friends, Brian and Brad, and hung out with them for a brief bit basically getting our bearings on who was going to what when. Since I was press, and had some nice equipment loaned courtesy of the WAWL and Chattanooga State, I made sure to get some audio from the first day, specifically by interviewing Nate and his opinions after a few hours undergoing his first convention experience. This was a good test of the equipment, and my knowledge of it, since it’d been awhile, but all in all it turned out great. Nate and I then parted ways, deciding to meet up again tomorrow after prioritizing the parade as our first activity for the sure to be busy Saturday.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
世界中のhideファンの投票で選曲された、hideを愛する人たちに贈るベスト・ア ルバム『 We ♡ （LOVE） hide ～The Best in The World～』2009年4月29日発売決定!!
このリクエストは日本のみならず全世界からの応募をお待ちしています。「We ♡ （LOVE） hide」のタイトル通り、あなたの愛するhideの1曲を投票してください！
国境を越えて・・・「We Love hide」!!!
投票は3月1日からオフィシャルサイトhide-cityスペシャルページで受け付け ます（hide-city http://www.hide-city.com/）。
hide's greatest hits album "We♡ [LOVE] hide ～The Best in The World" will be released on April 29th 2009.
This album is dedicated to all fans who love hide from all over the world!! Pick your most favorite hide song. Top 20 votes will be included in this album!
Listen to his music on http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list... .
Voting starts from March 1st on official website （hide-city http://www.hide-city.com/）.
Everyone in the world is eligible to vote.
Over the boarders..."We Love hide!"
Monday, January 19, 2009
Well, I've been watching more and more shows and really need to seat myself down and write some full reviews, but seems like this post won't be the time for that. Instead, I just wanted to discuss some exciting items I was able to pick up on a fantastic trip to Buford, GA this past weekend (just north of Atlanta).
The reason for going was essentially friends of mine suggesting we do something with this 3-day weekend such as a road trip, plus they knew some good shopping opportunities in Buford, explicitly a couple anime stores, while we also have between us 2 friends down there we might be able to see. Well, sadly due to the brevity of our trip, one night, and our friends long work hours that never happened, but oh the awesomeness of their stores was far too much for this mind of mine.
Before I go into detail about those stores, let me mention some of the other activities we took part it in case anyone headed down there is interested. First I'll cover food starting with our excellent dinner at Kani's House. This is a semi-typical Japanese restaurant where you can either get the performance style dinner or sit in a more typical restaurant environment. We were worried about a wait but needn't be since they had so much room, which was nice because we got seated immediately and the cook got there as a few others joined us at the table (community seating and all). The food was fine and a better than usual at these sorts of establishments, which was nice, but importantly for me the show had some little differences such as rice tossing by the chef into people's mouths, including my friends and mine (with successful catches both) to spice up the pre-lims. Birthdays were going on near us to so we got to see the sing/drum show w/ picture for the memories, which was cool to although being none of our birthdays we just watched in curiosity. Otherwise, not too much difference however you expect some kind of familiarity between restaurants of this type, and we got a little better than expected, leaving us full and satisfied.
Our other main food stop of interest was an ASSI International Grocery Store that essentially is a Korean grocery store with several items imported from other various asian nations. Apparently there are a substantial number of Koreans in Buford, and this fact is noticeable in so many places, and makes for really cool stores to check out such as ASSI. Aside from some casual picture taking of the various import foods, my friends and I also picked up some variety items specifically I got some 99% Cocoa Chocolate (cooking purposes only I assure you), some puffy pastry mixed box, and some Pocari Sweat that I had heard about but never tried (interesting, taste like watermelon). Nothing seemed to spectacular after our taste tests in the hotel room, but we just went in to try different foods so we did and for that purpose alone the visit to ASSI was quite worthwhile.
As an aside, before I do get to the matter of the awesome stores for otaku needs, I must say we spotted quite the spectacle on one of the roads we travelled on. This appeared to be a giant robot near a conference or event center, and clearly to us we knew this was Kodak moment gold. Thus, as we knew we should do, we stopped by since no one was around anyways and marvelled at the robot, took pictures with the robot, and just realized that for whatever reason, this art store/center, which it seemed to be, had a robot. Either way how very cool and yes that is what the blog opener pic is from.
I mentioned this trip had some shopping purposes, so I will not slight you by leaving out what took up a substantial amount of our time, i.e., visiting these unique stores. First of all, we visited the Mall of Georgia, said to be Georgia's largest mall, and checked out the store Fandom, a place my local friends have frequented on their previous trips to Buford. Definitely this was quite cool and really made me wish for more stores like this locally, as I was looking at a variety of plushies, keychains, wallscrolls, cd's and other otaku goodies. While we would later find out that in comparison to the other anime stores we would visit Fandom's prices were a bit high, at the time everything seemed so awesome, so I picked up a Code Geass wallscroll for my room and some CD's, T.M Revolution's coordinate album, Penicillin's Flower Circus album, and Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid OST. Not knowing we would hit any other anime stores for certain, my friends chose these as a strong lead off location, and made sure to grab a few items to go, such as figures and a wall scroll or two. We headed out afterward, after seeing Chopper and the AAA Braves PR team hyping up the Braves move to Buford, and headed onto the one store that I have wanted to go to for so long, Fry's Electronics.
Casually known as Fry's, this store was recommended to me primarily for electronics, but with the promise of being the best of Best Buy, Circuit City, and a couple other similar stores. Truly, these mentions were no lie because I was overwhelmed by all the amazing items there, and this was with little venture into the electronics section, their bread & butter so to speak. What truly wiped me out though was the extensive aisle they devoted to anime, which not only had shows new, old, and classic, but had them all at outrageously great prices! I saw Genshiken, great show I've been wanting to pick up for some time, and Yuko the Negotiator, short show I actually just finished, and got them both. I then headed to the magazine section, which was equally impressive, to look for Protoculture, the anime magazine, but sadly that was the one disappointment, of the store and the trip, since I had no luck finding a copy. That minor blemish aside, Fry's was all the awesomeness I had been led to believe and I tell you now if you get the chance go to Fry's, bring money, spend money, help the economy, and smile as you find so much great stuff.
Leaving Fry's, we actually went to eat at Kani's House, but having talked about that already I'll skip to our last stop Saturday night before retiring to our hotel room. That stop, as is common locally too, was to a bookstore although instead of our local Books-A-Million, Buford has a Borders, another store I love almost as much as Fry's. Now, the size of Buford's Borders was much to be desired, as my Books-A-Million is bigger and has much more material, yet I was impressed with some of the unique titles they had, specifically the book I ended up picking up, the Genshiken Official Book. Having spent all I wanted to for the moment I knew I wasn't going to buy any more of the books they had, including a cool Hayao Miyazaki art book, so I left happy, but not as overwhelmed by some of the bigger city Borders, which is to be expected I guess.
Either way, I felt that Saturday had so much going on that I just didn't expect Sunday to equal that fun and amazement, but that was before I found Lydia's ARTBOX & Pica Pica, two anime/otaku stores in Buford's Discover Mall. First we stopped in Lydia's ARTBOX, where I saw a plethora of plushies to my liking, as well as figures, which included some I had not seen anywhere else except maybe the far reaches of the internet. Feeling the strain on my personal limit, I ended up not buying these items, but I discovered behind the counter just to the right my great weakness J-Rock CD's & DVD's, and lo and behold they were calling for me with the second CD only half off. Truly, this was a kid in a candy store moment, as I counted the Miyavi CD's with 2 hands, and did the math in my head realizing that perhaps I could squeeze a little more out of me for some CD's. Thinking at the time my debit card was not working, I and my friends decided we would return after finding Pica Pica, and hopefully I could get to an ATM in between then, so I didn't have to use truly emergency funds for such a non-emergency (although to me it seemed to be).
Well, Pica Pica was another one of those stores where an anime fan on a budget should probably never step into, more so perhaps than Lydia's ARTBOX, since Pica Pica was specifically devoted to being a Japanese goods outlet. Clearly they lived up to this title, as their wall scrolls, while perhaps a bit cheap quality, were numerous and their figures even more so than Lydia's ARTBOX. My friends started checking around for some such items, and this is where we discovered that Fandom really was more pricey, so finding some of what they wanted at nice prices, my friends bought a couple items while I reminded myself of the promise of J-Rock for my ears and show, and continued the hunt for an ATM.
Ultimately, I had no luck with an ATM, but my card actually worked on the first try at Lydia's ARTBOX, so go figure there, but either way something I'm very grateful for. This little miracle as it seemed paved the way for me to pick up, at not just a reasonable but a fantastic price, 5 Miyavi CD's (w/ some DVD material mixed in), and 1 3-CD pack titled hide: Perfect Single Box, hide being of X-Japan fame, and one of my favorite J-Rock artists, along with Miyavi, a new addition to that category. If I had purchased this all online, or even in most stores, the amount would have been something like 25$ for CD with about 45$ for the hide single box, but the price I paid was about half of that, which once again I cannot mention how amazing this was to me, and still is. I basically hung around long enough to see if maybe I had missed another great CD in the batch, but deciding my wallet had suffered enough, I bounded out of the store to make sure the dream was real and that I actually got that many CD's so cheaply. Thankfully, as I am now listening to some of the hide voiceless tracks, one of the wonderful parts of this box collection, I know that the dream was real.
I had seen Buford, and Buford saw me, and by the end of our trip I came away a happier otaku, nay a happier man, and while Buford may miss me a little bit now, the city has implanted in me a beacon that will call for me to return sometime in the future (after Spring Con season), so we can do business again.