Moments of 2015: The Tale of an Anime Fan with a Broken Foot

AZ-broken

As those who’ve followed my blog this last year will know, I had a number of fun ACG ‘firsts’. Read more of this post

Moments of 2015: Goodbye…Father

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There are many little vignettes in Aldnoah.Zero that I like returning to, little scenes that illuminate my favourite relationships in the show. But in terms of overall impact, I can only return now to the scene that gave the first indications of where Slaine was headed. Read more of this post

Translation: Aldnoah.Zero Extra Episode 4

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** WARNING ** SPOILERS AHEAD for S2 of AZ **

It’s finally done! Presenting a project that I’ve been working on for a while: here is the manga extra from the 7th volume of Aldnoah.Zero, which covers Read more of this post

Translation: A special dialogue with Aoki Ei and Nagano Toshiyuki

From Animedia, May 2015 (scans here)

I am so drained from all the translations I’ve been doing over the last week that I’m not sure how lucid my (brief!) comments here will be… In any case, here’s the second interview that I summarised back when those post-series articles were first published. Most of the questions that I didn’t include in the summary are about what it was like learning how to incorporate CGI into a show — I found them pretty interesting, though I don’t really expect many others to feel the same way. However, one thing that became clearer for me after rereading this interview was what Aoki’s original ideas for both Slaine and Inaho were. So as not to disrupt the flow of the interview, my comments on them are the end of this post — I sense that what I have written there would raise the ire of many a Slaine fan…but well, I’ll steel myself for any fallout. Hopefully, it’s been so long since the series ended that there won’t be one…

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Disclaimer: As always, this translation is entirely my own work, so any mistakes and awkward turns of phrases are mine (although I would very much appreciate it if anyone who spots a problem leaves me a comment so that I can correct it).

You are welcome to link to this or quote parts of it, but please don’t copy and paste substantial amounts elsewhere.

And without further ado…

Read more of this post

Translation: “Weaving the future, together with you”

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An interview with Director Aoki Ei (Newtype May, 2015)

I’ve been thinking of fully translating those end-of-show interviews since I first summarised them in May, but am only starting to get round to it now. The Animedia one is a lot longer, but it should show up in the next week or two. On the other hand, I’m not sure whether I will end up fully translating the seiyuu ones after all…too many other things I want to watch or read! But I’ll see how it goes.

This translation does have a significant change from the summary – something that I thought was about characters like Slaine was probably more about how viewers see such characters. The grammar is kind of ambiguous, but I now think that the latter interpretation makes more sense. Additionally, having seen some of the Western films that Aoki refers to, I thought about pointing out a few scene comparisons, one of which I seem to recall Aoki himself making in another interview somewhere. But I’ll refrain and suggest only that you watch those movies and see if you can pick out some of the more specific ways in which they influenced what Aoki and co. did.

Disclaimer: As usual, this translation is entirely my own work, so any mistakes and awkward turns of phrases are mine (although I would very much appreciate it if anyone who spots a problem leaves me a comment so that I can correct it).

You are welcome to link to this or quote parts of it, but please don’t copy and paste substantial amounts elsewhere.

And without further ado…

Read more of this post

The truth about Urobuchi Gen’s involvement in Aldnoah.Zero

Disclaimer: This overview of how AZ came into being is based mostly on interviews I have collected and read over the last eight months, so any translation errors or misinterpretations―though I hope there are none―are entirely my own. Corrections and clarifications are always appreciated. You’re also welcome to link to this or quote parts of it, but please don’t copy and paste substantial amounts elsewhere. And without further ado, let me begin…

Last major edit on September 24, 2015

I am well aware that my love for Aldnoah.Zero makes me an outlier in the Western anime fandom. A lot of my posts and arguments probably make me seem like an apologist, or maybe just someone completely out-of-touch with everyone else. But believe me, although I take pains to justify why I appreciate this show despite its flaws, I’m not trying to convince anyone else that they should like it. Some of its flaws are, indeed, issues that would drive me up the wall if I did not consciously overlook them. But what frustrates me is that people will channel their hatred of the show into ‘talking crap’ about its creators, based on little more than speculation over the deal with Urobuchi Gen. Personally, as someone who enjoys finding out about the creative process, I just want to set the record straight.

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The project was revealed on February 16, 2014,
with Urobuchi credited for coming up with the “story.”

This post presents a summary of how Aldnoah.Zero was created, focusing in particular on the pre-production period. One of the triggers behind my decision to torture myself was that some of the things people kept saying about Aoki Ei and co. reminded me of the fandom of another series, where misinformation someone had deliberately spread led to some wild fan speculation and myths that were then used to criticise its creators. In this case, fans just took the ‘fact’ that “Urobuchi was replaced by Takayama Katsuhiko” and ran with it, resulting in a number of theories that are contradicted by what Aoki, Urobuchi and all of the other creators have said. But I’ll leave the verdict up to the reader. You can either believe what they said in all the interviews I reference here, or you can speculate about how they’ve all conspired to cover up what really happened—prizes are available for the most believable and the most outrageous theories!

TL;DR

  • Urobuchi wrote the plot and the history of Earth and Vers; Aoki created the characters and their storylines. This is what they agreed on right from the start (Spring, 2011).
  • Takayama was brought on board towards the end of 2012 because they knew that Urobuchi wouldn’t be able to write all of the screenplays himself.
  • Urobuchi left in early 2013 because of scheduling conflicts (with Kamen Rider Gaim).
  • Despite the switch, Urobuchi’s plot outline has largely been maintained.

As for the non-TL;DR, let me begin with an annotated timeline. Read more of this post

Aldnoah.Zero EXTRA DAY: One final day together

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Sunday, June 21st, was the first time—and the last, so I’ve assured the friend who helped me obtain the tickets—that I’ve been to a special anime event in Japan. For those who’ve followed me on this blog or on twitter for the last seven months or so, it probably is no surprise that that event was the Aldnoah.Zero EXTRA DAY. But for me, it makes more sense to think about it from the opposite direction: it was my long-time interest in seiyuu that really got me to the event. That’s not to say that I’m not interested in the ideas behind the series, but EXTRA DAY was actually the reason I started collecting the BDs in the first place, even before the show ended. As mentioned in my previous post, a special code for preordering tickets was included in BD 6. At the time, I also knew that I would be back in Japan for work around June/July…and so, I ordered it, asked my friend a huge favour, and finally checked the box for something I’d been wanting to do ever since I developed a voice fetish about 10 years ago. And it was completely worth it. Read more of this post

Aldnoah.Zero EXTRA DAY teaser 2

I’m afraid that my report on EXTRA DAY probably won’t be showing up before this weekend, given a few things I have to do here in Japan—there are a tonne of reports in Japanese, though, for those who can’t wait—but I did want to quickly clear up some misconceptions I’ve seen over the last few months.

First, although some people seem to think the event was announced after the 24 hour countdown that showed up after the last episode aired on March 28, that’s most definitely not true. EXTRA DAY was announced on February 15 on all official sites (see e.g. this announcement on Sawano Hiroyuki’s webpage). And English-only viewers have no excuse. At the time, it was also noted that special priority ticket codes would come with BD/DVD vol.6, which was released on March 18. That’s actually how I got my tickets, courtesy of a generous friend in Japan who helped me place the order.

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I can’t remember if they made the banner prominent on the website before the anime ended, but the information was definitely there by early March…

The countdown on the website was simply a final treat for fans that had been following the series since July 2014: rather than the 60 minute window we previously had for downloading key animation frames from each episode, they gave us an entire day (according to your timezone). And the countdown showed up again on Thursday, April 2, after the episode was broadcast on Osaka’s ABC Asahi network.

EP17
This one from episode 17 was one of my favourites.

Second, there were no pre-recorded skits played at EXTRA DAY itself. The ‘Cinderella AU’ that I’ve seen mentioned here and there was just an idea that a listener sent in for a corner on the radio show (#37, which aired after episode 21). What we did get was Episode 24.5, a ‘live drama’ set during the rainy season in 2017, and Extra Episode 6.5, a continuation of Aldnoah Gakuen with just Inaho, Slaine and Asseylum. Just quickly on 24.5 for the moment: I personally liked the skit, as I found it completely in keeping with the realism that runs through the series–even though I’d kind of been hoping for something a little more light hearted. But that’s what the other extra was for! Speaking of which, I still haven’t listened to either Extra Episode 6–out today with BD/DVD vol.9–or 6.5, because I don’t have a CD player with me at present, so please don’t spoil them for me!

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EXTRA EPISODE 6.5 came with the event pamphlet

p.s. And yes, one of the reasons I haven’t written my own report is that I’ve been busy reliving what happened through all the Japanese reports. Some of those fans were really amazing, taking one full notebook of notes per session in the dark! And that person had one of the standing room tickets, IIRC!

Aldnoah.Zero EXTRA DAY teaser: ToroKen vs. Hanaho, Round 3!!

Extra Day has finally come and gone, and despite certain personal circumstances, it was a total blast! The full write-up will take me a little longer, but as a little teaser, let me wrap up the rivalry between our two protagonists ^^

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Updated: The chibi face-off from the back of AZ Key Animations 2/2!! (source)

In case you need a reminder, the score so far is one round each. And do pardon me for the lack of pictures from the event — not surprisingly, we weren’t allowed to take any photos once the show had started. So, without further ado, let the third and last round begin!

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Translation: Aoki on AZ, from Animedia, Nov 2014

So I really should have done this about six months ago, during the gap we had between the two cours. But I had too many other things going on…and frankly, the way the fandom was at the time was driving me nuts. And ordinarily, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to complete the translation now that the series is long over. However, there was a small but significant mistake that I made when I previously translated this (originally on AS, and then edited for this blog at the start of the year), so I just wanted to correct it, even if it won’t make much of a difference now. I hereby present the entirety of Aoki’s interview from the Aldnoah.Zero special in November’s Animedia.

Disclaimer: This translation is entirely my own work, so any mistakes and awkward turns of phrases are mine (although I would very much appreciate it if anyone who spots a problem leaves me a comment so that I can correct it).

You are welcome to link to this or quote parts of it, but please don’t copy and paste substantial amounts elsewhere.

And without further ado…

Read more of this post