Summer 2017! Well, sort of…

Lu-2

If I’m honest…I have to confess that I completely skipped the summer season. I watched just one episode of Welcome to the Ballroom and five episodes of Saiyuki Reload Blast, but I have yet to finish either of them. I also watched two older series, which I’ll comment briefly on below. In the end, the only ‘new’ anime I watched during the summer season were actually the three films that were screened, for free, at AnimeFest in August. But those were their debuts in the West, so they count, right?

Napping Princess: the Story of the Unknown Me

The first of these was Kamiyama Kenji’s newest work, also localised in Australia as Ancien and the Magic Tablet. Of the three, Napping Princess was probably the one that I found least ‘enjoyable’, although it was also the most thought-provoking. This whimsical story about a girl that can give life to machines through a magic tablet actually makes for some interesting commentary on contemporary Japan, a country governed by tradition and thus lacking in innovation and flexibility. This is arguably one of the reasons the country has been in economic stagnation for close to three decades now. So, will the Japanese people who watch the film take heed of what Kamiyama was trying to say? Only time will tell.

Hirune-hime
© Warner Bros Japan

Find out more about Napping Princess in this interview conducted by the staff of Yatta-Tachi!

Lu Over the Wall

It’s embarrassing to admit that Lu Over the Wall was my introduction to Yuasa Masaaki. His is a name that’s been on the lips of anime connoisseurs for the last few years, both in Japan and overseas, with Tatami Galaxy and Ping Pong being particularly well regarded. I suspect that I simply didn’t really like the look of the art, and to be frank, I’m still not sure I do. But I really enjoyed Lu, especially its core message about expressing yourself and connecting with others. And I also appreciate what Yuasa and Producer Eunyoung Choi are trying to do with Science Saru, stretching the boundaries of what is animation through the use of Flash–the dancing scene towards the end of the film was just insane! As I’ve said previously, I generally need to watch a film more than once if I’m to give more than a quick impression, but of the three films I saw at AnimeFest, this is probably the one I’m most eager to watch again.

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The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl

AnimeFest actually premiered TWO Yuasa films, which must have been a treat for his fans. But speaking for myself, I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of this particular film. It shares its setting and some of its characters with The Tatami Galaxy, which was also an adaptation of a novel written by Morimi Tomohiro—who is also responsible for The Eccentric Family, which I absolutely adore! So I wonder if the reason The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl didn’t appeal to me is that the driving narrative is once again about finding love and romance. Albeit, one enlivened by a cast of eccentric characters and a main character that can really take care of herself. Perhaps I’ll try it again one more time after I watch The Tatami Galaxy. I guess you could say that my introduction to Yuasa has accomplished something: it’s opened me up to checking out what the fuss over his previous series is all about.

night-walk-on-girl

Lupin the Third: Part 4

And finally, I also found myself watching Lupin the Third. Following on from what I wrote about The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, this show left me with a mixed impression of Fujiko. I wasn’t particularly fond of the way she and Rebecca played off one another, but it was great to see her not only mastermind the rescue of Lupin in one episode, but also hold her own against the final antagonist. Well, I’m not sure I’ll be trying to track down more of the anime, but I might pick up the manga one day, to experience the original work that seems to have played such a large role in making Yamamoto Sayo who she is today.

Lupin

Yuri!!! on ICE (the English dub)

Yes, I decided to watch this when I was in the US…suffice it to say that I’m unlikely to buy any of the Western releases—depending on the extras, whoever has the Aussie license may just be able to persuade me, but to I’ll be frank: Suwabe Jun’ichi is the only Victor for me! Nevertheless, there were two things that I will remember fondly. First, rather paradoxically, I agree with the Japanese fans that I saw commenting on it on Twitter about the impression they got from the dub…and also with an old friend who had the exact opposite opinion. I’m being vague here, but the friends I chatted with about this will know what I’m referring to. And I’m not kidding: the script and the work of one English VA made me agree with one side, and another English VA with the other! And second, I do like Micah Solusod’s work as Yurio. I mean, I love Uchiyama Kouki as Yurio too, but Micah’s voicework in the scene where he meets up with his grandpa again (episode 8) seriously cracked me up! Wish I could link a clip!

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And Pick that Voice!!

Just Walk on Girl – Hanazawa Kana, Hiyama Nobuyuki and Kamiya Hiroshi – and Ballroom – Noto Mamiko, Morikawa Toshiyuki – this time. ^^ I’m doing much better in what I’ve been watching in the fall season, honest!

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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