In memory of 2012 appendix: the list…and the runner up…

Humans are funny. We tend to pay attention to strings of repeating numbers and treat them as lucky charms or points of interest. For example, you’ll probably find that quite a number of people of Chinese or Japanese descent would get married on the 8th day of the 8th month (whether in the Gregorian or Lunar calendar).

I’ll be honest: I normally don’t pay much attention to this. But on December 12, a friend on facebook commented that it was 12.12 on 12.12.12, and that this would be the last repeat we’d see for 88 years. Well…that wasn’t quite true:

2012-20-12

From what I figured, this should be the last year-including repeat for just over 88 years. But well…what’s the bet that someone’s going to point out one that I missed?
(^_^;; )

And here’s what I watched in 2012.

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The twelth memory of 2012: Farewell, oh reputation!

A few weeks ago, to the surprise of many AS posters, the moderators suddenly revealed that the Reputation System was being taken down. This would mean that there was no longer any way to write short notes of praise to other posters, to reward ‘good’ posts and punish posts that were ‘bad’ in various ways.

The main reason this came about seems to be because posters were abusing the system, for e.g., by forming cliques that would pos-rep each other whilst ganging up to neg-rep someone they didn’t like. I do wonder if that was happening in one of the circles I hang around in – I mean, I’d like to think better of the posters whose company I’ve also been enjoying, but you never know…

Personally, I didn’t use the reputation system all that much. I disabled it pretty much as soon as I signed up on AS, and didn’t realise that I had merely turned off any notifications I would get. Some time later, I found out that other people were still using it to leave me comments, and I’d somehow amassed in excess of 100 points. So I started using the system intermittently, checking for comments once in a while and finally using it to praise posts that I found thought-provoking or amusing. I’ll admit to using neg-rep as well, twice: it was on the same person, and I always signed it, though I only realised later that that poster had lost all their rep power by the time I’d taken away the second cookie. However, both times were for something I found unforgivable – swearing at another forum member. Ah well, I also learnt to use the ‘report post’ function in the process, and that’s what I’ll be doing from now on.

In some ways, I’m glad, because some of the anonymous neg-reps I received were incredibly annoying, especially the ones that gave me no chance to respond. I always found them an incredibly cowardly way to avoid having to make and defend your own argument. On the other hand, I will miss being able to make a quick, positive comment on a post I found illuminating, along with the nice or even amusing comments I received through the system. As we’d been informed that these would all disappear, I thought I’d go back and save some of the ones I really enjoyed or appreciated. So, ‘in loving memory’, here are some my favourites:

This was for a post where I observed that Kawamori, as creative director of the Macross universe, would have approved everything that made it to the public. (And yes, I do know who the commenter was.)

This was for a post where I observed that Kawamori, as creative director of the Macross universe, would have
approved everything that made it to the public.
(And yes, I do know who the commenter was.)

Rep_for_post3220630_118_in_thread_Japan's_anime_industry

These two speak for themselves, I'd say.

If you worked it out from the reference, good for you! This was for a summary I posted of a Bakemonogatari event...(^_^)

If you worked it out from the reference, good for you! This was for a summary I posted of a Bakemonogatari event…(^_^)

And my absolute favourite, from Orihara Izaya’s thread in the Durarara!! sub-forum – though I’m afraid you’ll have to zoom in to see it… This one might be confusing if you don’t know the reference – I wrote about it once in a past Year Review post. Alternatively, google is your friend ^^

なっちゃん♥

なっちゃん♥

And yes, 386 is where I ended up, thanks in part to two posters whom I highly respect, who rep’ed one of my more recent contributions. Without further ado, then, farewell!

The eleventh memory of 2012: an emerging trend in storytelling?

If there’s one complaint I’ve been seeing in recent few years, it’s that a number of original series have been made such that they do not completely stand on their own. Although a one- or two-cour series might present a relatively decent, self-contained story, finer details that enhance it may be found elsewhere in other media such as manga and drama series… Fans that speak only one language, usually English, will often criticise the creators and/or their sponsors for being ‘greedy’ and forcing people to ‘consume’ more. I’ve noticed that this happens particularly when the extra material is less likely to be translated.

Perhaps it’s been the shows I’ve taken a deeper interest in: Macross Frontier and K are two that spring to mind, although the way in which the other media of these franchises support their respective TV series differ. I’ll explore the former in more detail at another time, but let’s take a closer look at the latter here.

A rather mysterious project it was, right from the start...

A rather mysterious project it was, right from the start…

**WARNING** **SPOILERS AHEAD**

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The tenth memory of 2012: my introduction to ‘The Butcher’…

The noitaminA shop at Odaiba is a happier memory that I would have written about in an ordinary year, and I’ll bet Psycho-Pass is going to make it onto next year’s list anyway, but the two most recent episodes have been far and away the most engrossing of the past year…even if I sometimes chose to catch up on another Thursday night series first…

"Go on, aim at me with the intent to kill."

“Go on, aim at me with the intent to kill.”

**WARNING** **SPOILERS AHEAD**

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The ninth memory of 2012: a certain unboxing…

Finally getting my paws on the Blu-rays for The False Diva and Wings of Farewell is something that almost had me singing on my recent trip to Japan. The main reason being that the film strips I found in them were from two of my favourite scenes:

...that date...

…that date…

AND

...and that first meeting...

…that first meeting…

I was somewhat nervous that I might be one of the unlucky ones that got saddled with the ‘no piracy’ video, so it was an extra-pleasant surprise not to get some shots of scenery or of the Galaxy moguls, for example!

The eighth memory of 2012: the poetry of a bittersweet romance

Well, Happy New Year…or, rather, あけおめ、ことよろ! And what better way to open up the year than with a story of endings and new beginnings?

Of all the series I watched this year, Utakoi was a funny one for me. A fair number of viewers seemed to think that it had been greenlighted because of the unexpected success that the Chihayafuru anime saw. Given that an anime series typically goes into pre-production up to a year or more before airing, I’m inclined to believe that both shows were part of an effort to highlight the beauty of traditional Japanese poetry, as represented by the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (Ogura collection of 100 poems by 100 poets) amongst female anime viewers. However, much as I promised myself to invest more time in analysing this show in relation to the poems, I simply never got into it.

Neverteless, there is one story that completely captured my heart. Spanning two episodes (though with roots tracing back one more), the sharp banter between Sei Shonagon and Fujiwara no Yukinari and the way they danced around each other with words was a joy to witness. And then that parting, bitter yet with the taste of sweet memories that sustain them both in the paths they have chosen. If there is one thing about Japanese stories that Western ones – which I would say tend to value the notion of being together, whether in life or in death – do not often seem to explore, it is the importance of memory, of those recollections of happy times spent together, even if a loved one is no longer there.

Look back at those memories; they are there to push you forward.

Look back at those memories; they are there to push you forward.

In some ways, I feel that this is precisely why I write about this hobby of mine. It’s not just about the joy of the experience as a story unfolds, or the fun of discussing it with others, it also about reminiscing about that experience, looking back on the good times wherein one can often find inspiration to keep going. I find myself doing that quite often: skimming back over posts I made long ago, looking back over what I’ve written for AS, or the comments I’ve left elsewhere. Of course, you could argue that it’s a waste of time, but that’s the poetry of this bittersweet romance.

The seventh memory of 2012: it’s finally here!!…or not…?

It’s a little strange. If I remember correctly, there were quite a few excited fans when it was finally announced that one of the biggest shows over the past 5 years, Bakemonogatari, was licensed for release in the West.

However, when Bakemonogatari’s official English language release finally hit Crunchyroll in September, to be followed by the Blu-Ray in November, the reaction was rather muted. To put a finer point to it, whilst some crowed and immediately put down their cash for the fully subbed commentary, a few people seem to have been hostile at the lack of a dub track, and the price tag of $150, which in the West is considered rather hefty (my reaction: no wonder it’s $190 – or $150 on sale – for the set!).

Ta-da!!

Ta-da!!

The less-than-positive reaction seems to have been focused on these two issues (check out the various ANN and /a/ threads on it), with a third being that the subtitles don’t retain the honourifics (see AS for that)…

Whilst I can understand these reactions, I’m somewhat conflicted. Technically, this hasn’t affected me all that much, for I don’t need to buy it – unless I want to have a look at the subs as a way of improving my own Japanese/translation skills. For that…I am tempted to buy it, even if I already have the Japanese BDs, with Japanese text fully intact in all the openings, endings and episodes. It would also be my way of thanking them for putting all that effort into it. Except that…guess what? It can’t even been viewed on Crunchyroll in my area (and I have a premium pass), much less shipped to where I am. Oh well, problem solved. Aniplex USA definitely isn’t getting my money then.

Nevertheless, quite an exciting discovery, I felt. A bit sad that there’s no longer a need for the commentary to be subbed, but I’m going to enjoy flipping through those commentary scripts anyway ^^)

The sixth memory of 2012: an unforgettable experience

Earlier this year, I wrote a report on SMASH 2012. One little thing that I didn’t specifically mention was that I was actually there as a volunteer, which is the main reason I didn’t get to do many of the things I would normally do. But on the other hand, I was thus able to experience something that I would never have gotten to do otherwise.

I am unable to go into greater detail, unfortunately, due to personal reasons. I will, however, leave a photo of something that I didn’t upload last time:

A memento from SMASH 2012...

A memento from the guests of SMASH 2012…

The fifth memory of 2012: the joys and pains of food art

Continuing with the ice cream theme, but on a much lighter note, who could forget the ‘Food Art’ episode of Polar Bear Cafe?

Until this episode, Polar Bear Cafe had been a bit of a hit and miss for me, but this particular gag really hit the nail on the head. It wasn’t just the idea of it, but also the sound effects…sadly, I couldn’t find a clip (and I can’t upload one), but it should really be seen to be believed!

They're so cute!!

They’re so cute!!

**WARNING** **SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD**

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The fourth memory of 2012: Ice cream

Where I live, white Christmases simply don’t exist. Instead, we apparently have surfing Santas and ‘shrimp on the barbie’. (NB: we actually use ‘prawn’ here – ‘shrimp’ was a change made because the tourist ad that made this phrase famous was aimed at Americans… (^^;; )) But of course, being summer, we also indulge in plenty of ice cream, an everlasting beacon of our sun-baked vistas. This is precisely when “I scream; you scream; we all scream, for ice cream.”

After Hyouka’s 5th episode, however, I will never look at ice cream quite the same way again.

Hyouka

**WARNING** **SPOILERS AHEAD**

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