In memory of 2010 finale: the Anime/Game/Manga industry vs. the Tokyo Government

Although Bill 156 was only passed in December, the battle has actually been going on for the better part of a year, if not longer. Respected long-time translator Dan Kanemitsu even opened a wordpress blog in order to share his research, views and reactions to the developments in Tokyo.

Really people, it’s not the end of the world.

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In memory of 2010 appendix: the list

If there was anything I could have added to my watchlist last year, it would have been The Tatami Galaxy (Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei) – in place of Kuroshitsuji II. But well, that’s life, and here’s the list.

 

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In memory of 2010 part 11: and the anime of the year is…

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

To be honest, this series almost slipped my mind. I got back into the manga around the time the new series started airing, so I was always ahead, which meant I was watching for silly things such as hearing Miyano Mamoru and Nakamura Yuuichi voice the ‘same’ character. Furthermore, because the first series already covered half of the manga, the first half of the second was rather rushed and somewhat unfulfilling. And of course, there’s the recency effect: Hagaren ended six months ago, and the manga just before it!

However, the flood of year end posts, especially the 12 moments of anime series that so many bloggers do for Christmas, brought back some of the memories of what made Hagaren so special. For me, it can all be summed up by looking at one character: Roy Mustang.

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In memory of 2010 part 10: Is there even a Line between Humans and Shiki?

Were I to consider the anime on its own, Shiki should really have gone into the previous post too, because it was at least 2 episodes short of seriously challenging the best anime of 2010. That’s including the two filler episodes we’re going to get in the summer. However, I ended up spoiling myself with regards to what happened in the manga and the novel, and the differences in all three mediums forced me to consider what Ono Fuyumi and Fujisaki Ryu may have wanted their readers to consider.

     

Shiki is, at its core, a story that examines human nature. Without going into details, watching and discussing Shiki each week really made me think about about what we do to individuals and to groups of people. It made me ponder the blessing and curses of both the old and the new, of spirituality and secularism. It had me reflecting on what it means to be human, on what humans desire and need, and how these influence the choices they make.

     

Which side the right? Which side is wrong? To be honest, I don’t think the show (or Ono Fuyumi-sensei for that matter) really answers that question. With details from the manga and novels in consideration, I was never surprised by the decisions that the various characters made. Maybe you’d disagree, but I feel both Fujisaki-sensei and the anime writers have kept character personalities and motivations as similar as they could to the novels – even the ones who underwent the greatest change in terms of ‘fate’ were, in essence, the same people. And based on who they were, they acted and reacted to the situations they found themselves in.

I’ll go into greater depth when I review the series (and the manga, once that’s done), and probably once I get to read the novels in their entirety. But, whilst Saraiya Goyou was probably my favourite overall, to me, Shiki was definitely the most interesting and thought-provoking series that aired entirely in 2010.

In memory of 2010 part 9: the Best of the Rest

Where I speak of the shows that had their moments, but which don’t stand out completely in one way or another. A mixture of characters and couples, and scenes that I will watch again and again long after today.

Durarara!!

SO. DAMN. CUTE.

Honestly, forget about the plot. The insane characters are what make this show, especially the cute and perverted ones we see here.

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In memory of 2010 part 8: so I have a Voice Fetish…

Well, Happy New Year!! And to start the year off, a look back on the vocal performances of yesteryear.

It’s probably not so obvious here, but my vice in anime is actually…the seiyuu. Specifically, the male seiyuu – I can quite reliably pick out my five or so favourite seiyuu just by voice alone. That I’m buying so many DVDs and sharing bits and pieces from commentaries and radio shows can be attributed to in ever-increasing interest in what goes on behind the microphone. But I’ll keep it to their voicework here.

Overall, I’d say that 2010 wasn’t a great year for stand-out performances, at least in the shows I’ve caught, although the range of roles that certain seiyuu got more than made me happy. On the other hand, that it finally threw up shows that tuned me in to some of the ladies was arguably the most important development for 2010.

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In memory of 2010 part 7: Anisong and Fanworks

Music is by far the most subjective aspect of any show. I’ve already read several reviews noting that 2010 hasn’t been a particularly strong year for theme songs. Whilst I agree that there probably isn’t a future classic like Cruel Angel’s Thesis or Sobakasu (last year’s Kimi no shiranai monogatari is probably the most recent one), I have more ‘favourites’ from this year than any year before.

In no particular order, there was
Uragiri no Yuuyake (Theatre Brook) Durarara!! 1st OP
Complication (ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D) – Durarara!! 2nd OP
Sign of Love (immi) – Saraiya Goyou OP
SOMEONE ELSE (eto…WORKING!! gals)
Heart Edge ni idomou -Go to Heart Edge- (WORKING!! guys)
Kuchizuke (BUCK-TICK) – Shiki 1st OP

Strangely enough though, most of the theme sequences I liked watching differ:
Uragiri no Yuuyake, Complication and SOMEONE ELSE again
Kuragehime OP
Otomo Youkai Zakuro OP
Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru OP and ED (although the live action one is the most entertaining)

However, I personally think that 2010 should be known as the year for theme fanworks. From the numerous MADs produced for the Durarara!! endings to the myriad of fan dubs. The following DRRR!!xCode Geass offering caught my eye because it doesn’t just follow the “Trust Me” ED sequence, but also adds its own touches.


However, I’d like to end with my absolute favourite from the past year, a favourite that was reflected in a Joysound karaoke survey: without further ado, I present Rimone-sensei’s Orihara Izaya, singing Ren’ai Circulation.

In memory of 2010 part 6: Hyakumonogatari

From the time I began it in April of this year, a certain translation project was never too far from my mind. I’d wanted to start it earlier, and should definitely have gone about it more promptly, but frustration and other interests kept intervening. Not to mention that most fans of the series aren’t really interested, as they’d prefer the commentary instead.

However, even if it was mostly for myself, I really enjoyed working on the Bakemonogatari Drama CD: Hyakumonogatari. It’s been a fun 25 hours or so expanding my knowledge on high school life in Japan, and learning new words and expressions, and silly puns and catch phrases with Araragi-kun and co. This translation is mostly my own work, with credit given to pem for his excellent translation of that famous tongue twister. The original work in progress is viewable at my LJ blog (mistakes and all), but as part of this quiet year ender, I’ve decided to make a revised version available as a pdf file.

Before that, however, a request.

Please DO NOT claim it as your own, or repost/use more than a reasonable amount of it (say 10%+) elsewhere without first asking me. If you are willing to follow this simple request, the password for the file is comprised of the first letters of the first eight bolded words of the request, capitals intact.

And without further ado, please enjoy, if you will. And feel free to leave any comments and/or suggestions here.

Edit: link removed. My apologies, but I’m not sharing it at present.

In memory of 2010 part 5: Remembering Love for the Classics

Once upon a time, before I decided I wanted to leave home and go somewhere else for uni, I was a musician. Not a great one – I never practiced enough for that – but I enjoyed being in the band and always had my favourites for piano. Furthermore, I wasn’t all that interested in carrying out that all important part of musical education, that of musical analysis – I didn’t even like having to listen to other people play the pieces I was meant to be playing. Even during those first few years at uni, I wasted the opportunity to use the piano at my house of residence, partially out of embarrassment because there was a girl just like Nodame there, one who could pick out tunes just by ear.

It’s perhaps ironic that it was Nodame Cantabile that got me back into classical music. To be specific, it was the drama, for when you only have short sections of a particular piece to work with, real people will always trump TV animation. One thing led to another, and now I have the entire drama series and the Best 100 album on my shelf. Here are other performances of some of the pieces contained:


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In memory of 2010 part 4: the Great (or Not-So-Great) Carry Overs

That’s to say, Bakemonogatari and Cross Game, two series that I went absolutely crazy about until screening delays and the end of the manga put a damper on things. Yet, both of these have different outcomes in terms of how interested I remain with them.

In the former case, despite those absolutely INFURIATING delays, I’m still crazy about the Bakemonogatari series in general. I have a full set of the Blu-rays, the artbook and the guidebook, the Nendoriod puchis and all of the novels released so far (though I’ll probably leave purchasing the most recent novel until my next trip to Japan). And it’s probably going to remain on my list of translation projects until after Kizumonogatari is completely released. It’s been almost 7 years since I’ve gone this crazy over something – the last case being the Lord of the Rings – and I actually hope it will be the last time. I simply don’t have the time or the money to keep it up.

On the other hand, although Adachi-sensei’s quiet subtlety really fascinated me, once the manga ended I just lost interest because the tension wasn’t there anymore. Not to mention some of the changes and additions to the anime that changed the subtlety into something that seemed forced. I still like Koh and Aoba – she’s a far better tsundere than a certain Kousaka Kirino – but I don’t like them together. But that’s just me.