In memory of 2010 part 3: Extras!! Gimme!

Another memory that started in an earlier year, with the first Bakemonogatari DVDs in 2009. Being stuck in Okinawa meant that I never worried about trying to get to this or that seiyuu event (trust me, if I’d been elsewhere, I really might have tried)…but to my chagrin, Aniplex found the formula to get someone like me to spend.

Commentaries, interviews, events and cover songs. Result? A very broke fan...

The range of commentaries offered is particularly interesting. Until Bakemonogatari came along, they usually consisted of staff and seiyuu combinations looking at various aspects of the shows. These can be hit and miss: some people complain that they’re rather not hear the seiyuu chat about pointless stuff, but on the other hand, directors and other staff can be incredibly trying on one’s ears because they simply don’t enunciate things properly!

Sidenote: in the Macross Frontier novels, both Ozma and Sheryl realise that Alto is/was an actor the very first time they hear him open his mouth. Perhaps we don’t think about this kind of thing in real life, but the differences in tone and colour of voice between performers and non-performers really come through in the commentaries.

Then Aniplex, SHAFT and Nishio Ishin hit us with Bakemonogatari. After 15 episodes of snappy dialogue, they gave us the characters, in-character, chatting about anything and everything. The sales figures speak for themselves, and producers were quick to follow with several other series (WORKING!!, Angel Beats! and more recently, OreImo too). It’s almost a pity that Bakemonogatari came first – I can’t speak for AB, but the WORKING!! ones really are quite fun as well – it’s just that the bar has been set impossibly high.

There is one more feature that I should really talk about. The Durarara!! commentaries have really been hit and miss…but there is one extra that makes some of the volumes completely worthwhile: the cover song collection. Putting aside Mikado, wouldn’t you want to go to karaoke with Masaomi, Shizuo and Dotachin just to hear those numbers in real life?

I’ve always been a fan of DVD extras. Most if not all of the DVDs I own are special editions – I’m especially prideful of the Lord of the Rings ones – and my Japanese DVD binge started with a four-disc edition of Howl’s Moving Castle, way back in 2006 or thereabouts. It shouldn’t be surprising that I haven’t actually gone through all of them yet… But well, I’m slowing down, even though I’ve just put in an order for the very tasty Mononoke/Bakeneko BD Box that’s coming out next year, nothing from the Autumn or Winter season will be finding its way onto my shelf!

In memory of 2010 part 2: Anime Revived the Radio Star

Of course, that’s not really true. The era that gave rise to that classic song can never be regained, and we will never again have a true radio star, methinks, no matter how interesting a personality may be (can I nominate Nakamura Yuuichi though?). Nor can I really say that it was anime that revived interest in radio shows – the impression I’ve been getting from seiyuu anecdotes and ‘episodes’ from at least two anime titles is that Japanese people have never really lost interest in them.

And 2010 certainly wasn’t the year I started listening to radio shows – that was 2005, way before I even learnt Japanese. But from chatting about DGS with my students and friends from work, to giggling over Seki Tomokazu’s dirty jokes and Nakamura Yuuichi’s crazy ad-libbing…radio shows have now become my standard listening fare for walks and bus rides.

Of course, it won’t appeal to most, even those who can understand Japanese. Whilst there’s the occasional juicy tidbit about a particular title, whether it’s going moe over Hanazawa Kana or Yuuki Aoi or swooning over Kamiya Hiroshi and Ono Daisuke, anime radio is almost purely for the seiyuu fan. Its main draw is the personalities, but that’s what radio shows have always been about in the first place anyway, right?

In memory of 2010 part 1: Macross Frontier

I suppose I should say “Merry Christmas!” first? And why am I here on Christmas morning? Well…my family celebrates it on the Eve…and today is set to be HOT, so staying in sounds like a WONDERFUL plan to me. Now, traditionally speaking, the 12 days of Christmas starts today, NOT 12 days before Christmas. This also means that it’ll conveniently end after the Autumn season of anime wraps up, so yes, year-end review starts here!

Alto-hime, picturesque even in battle (^_^)

…2010…so why Frontier? Doesn’t it hail from 2008?

Well, yes, but Frontier was where my 2010 started off. Not only did I catch Itsuwari no Utahime at the cinemas in the 2nd week of January, I also joined a forum just to discuss it. Discussing what? Silly things like Ranka vs. Sheryl and Alto-Ranka vs. Alto-Sheryl…once I’d gotten over a certain character’s demise anyway. My favourites remain Klan and Michel, but no disputing anything there, really, just plenty of fun stuff on the radio shows ^^

Must admit that I’d moved on by the time everyone else got to watch the movie, but with the current rewatch, it’s once again getting my near full attention, commentaries, novels and all. Time-consuming, but fun – just wish more people were as interested in the backstage talk as I am!