Thursday, January 30, 2014

Top 10 Anime Feature Films

Let me start off by saying this list is heavily opinionated. Everything I write in this article is my own opinion based on the anime films that I have seen. I haven't seen every anime film but I have seen a good amount. Also, like most of my lists, I have conditions for what I qualify as an anime "feature film" as I stated in the title. That means it is a standalone film and not apart of a series of movies (Ghost in the Shell Arise, Evangelion, etc.) or movies that are from a popular anime series (DBZ movies, Fullmetal Alchemist Sacred Star if Milos, Trigun Badlands Rumble, Cowboy Bebop The Movie, etc.). So the movies that I am writing about are the ones that tell a story in their given time frame and end it within that time frame. With all that said, let us begin!

Issue #27

January 15, 2014

Winter 2014: What I'm Watching (Part 2)

It's time for the second part of my Winter 2014 initial impressions on shows I plan to follow. Included this time is one short show; I don't normally cover them in these posts, but since said show is somewhat on the longer side and one of the better shorts to come out lately, I'm putting it in here. Beyond that, there's a fair variety in this set, including a number of sequels. No point delaying this any further; let's go straight to the shows.


Anime to begin with...

As of the past two weeks or so I've had about eight (I know! Social interaction!) or so people ask me to recommend them some anime to watch/start off with. Those of you that know me in real life will know that I'm an avid anime and manga fan and I will be more than happy to discuss my favourites with you. If you are already a fan and want something else to watch, check out my anime list .

I'm sure not too many people will be interested in this post, but for those of you that are.. let the obsession begin. This is just a very short list of the anime I like to recommend to people who may not really like anime or that want to start watching anime but have no idea where to begin. I hope some of you anime fans out there will agree with me. I've not included any films in this list, but if you are interested, I can make that list for another day. I've also included my thoughts on the dubbed (english) versions, if there are any.
Issue #27

January 15, 2014
Issue #27

January 15, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Issue #27

January 15, 2014
Issue #27

January 15, 2014


The narrative world is inundated with stories of brothers. The world of the internet is inundated with lists. I propose we smash the heck out of these two things, and come up with a fun list of Anthony's Favorite Brothers in media!

Jesus walked around with thirteen other men. He knew the importance of fraternal bonding during life. This was normal throughout history! Then women came along, demanding to be noticed, and fraternity fell by the wayside to be replaced with conversations about Peyton Manning's throwing arm.

Animazement Announces Three Animators From Studio Trigger as Guests

Animazement has announced that three animators from Studio Trigger will be guests at their next convention. The three animators are director Yoh Yoshinari, art director Yuji Kaneko, and animator Takafumi Hori.

Yoshinari directed Little Witch Academia, and has also worked on such anime as Kill la Kill, Evangelion 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance, Cat Soup, and Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Issue #27

January 15, 2014
Issue #27

January 15, 2014
Issue #27

January 15, 2014
Issue #27

January 15, 2014

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood [Anime]: Epic action, ultimate feels; everything is done right

I am going to do my best to keep this review fairly neutralbut it's gonna be hard. FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD is the first anime that I watched to completion, and remains my favourite anime to date. It is an adventure/action anime that is 64 episodes long, with 4 accompanying OVAs and 1 movie (not part of the main plot).


Looking Forward: Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014!

It's already the 3rd day of 2014---that was fast. 2013 was a roller coaster for me in many aspects but I am looking forward to 2014. Not only do I leave the 20's, but I plan to really organize stuffs in my life.2013 is where I struggled and not know my real path. This was also the time when productivity was a sturggle and I had to keep track of stuffs I have a hard time finishing. Anyhow, I'd like to take this opportunity to reflect and list down the aspects of both 2013 and 2014 and what I have to say. This will help me keep track of my goals this year and know what else I have to improve.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Watch the MAN AT ARMS Forge Ed Elric's Spear from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Every other Monday, one bold blacksmith makes metallurgic magic on the YouTube series . That man is Tony Swatton, and this week, he has set his sights on Elric's Spear, the iconic weapon wielded by short-tempered, steel-limbed blonde boy wonder Edward Elric in the Japanese anime/manga series Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

Watch in awe as Swatton and his team transform raw materials into Ed's weapon of choice, all without the aid of a transmutation circle. Now that's impressive. No word yet on whether Swatton will be able to turn your annoying little brother into a sentient suit of armor, but keep your fingers crossed. In the meantime, watch and learn from the Man at Arms.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Philosophy of Fullmetal Alchemist, Part 2

, I talked about what I thought are the tertiary and secondary themes of Fullmetal Alchemist ("faith" and "touka koukan," respectively). Now it's finally time to talk about what I feel to be the most important of all. I skirted spoiler territory before, but this time I'm discussing the ending, so tread with caution, proceed at your own risk, etc.


Philosophy of Fullmetal Alchemist, Part 3


Before starting this series I googled "philosophy of fullmetal alchemist," but I didn't come up with much, so my previous two parts in this series may very well comrpise the fullest philosophical treatment of this series in English. However, there's a lot more material available in Japanese. After writing the main body of this post - to keep my interpretation original - I gave a try. Here's some of the top results.

Kira Alicetear says that she (?) feels an affinity for the military characters, specifically those in Mustang's crew. "I particularly like that the Flame Alchemist is cold on the outside but burns with passion on the inside, and I like Hughes too, but that might just be because I've always had a thing for men of action." She's not sure how she feels about Hawkeye because, except for her romance plotline, there's little connecting her to the main story. "Oh, and I like Scar and Izumi too."

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Alive but Dead.


I've always enjoyed watching anime. To me, despite the excessive acts of violence and somewhat unnecessary clothing, each one of them contain numerous lessons to be learnt. Some of my favorites are Gensoumaden Saiyuki, Death Note, Detective Conan and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. I watch other anime as well, but out of the many anime that I watch, these four have always been my favorites, and I've never felt bored watching them over and over and over again.


As many no doubt have already known, Silver Spoon was created by Hiromu Arakawa, who has also contributed greatly to the manga and anime scene by coming about with Full Metal Alchemist. This series was first written and drawn as a manga from the August of 2001 all the way into June of 2010. This stellar manga has also spawned two iterations of anime. The first one being the original Full Metal Alchemist which was created in 2003, and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood which was created in 2011.

It's quite confusing to many people who know of both, but don't know what the difference between the two anime are. While yes, they both have the same source material there are several key differences between them. Those who have been watching the original Full Metal Alchemist that started in 2003, remember that the manga hasn't finished yet at the time. As many anime do as they continue while the manga is still being written, they have to diverge from the source material. Although many people are confused by this, it isn't a bad thing, the divergent plots make it really interesting to watch.

Friday, January 24, 2014

What's Making Us Happy This Week

Here's our staff highlights for this week -- all the titles, creators, programs, conferences, and library shenanigans that made our week, comics-wise!

Issue #27

January 15, 2014

The Winner of 2013's Post Popularity Contest!

I may be slightly odd. Okay, I know I am, but everyone is odd compared to someone's idea of even, so it would be odd if I weren't odd. So, odd or not, I want to share the winners of a contest you didn't know existed - a popularity contest between over 50 posts for the position of "The Most Popular of 2013." The competition was fierce, and it was based on the sheer number of views. Newer posts got no handicaps, even though they've had less time to accumulate reads.

Current standings for the week. The bottom
Issue #27

January 15, 2014
Issue #27

January 15, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Issue #27

January 15, 2014

Previously in 2013: Fandoms

After writing about my article, I wanted to share some thoughts on my favorite fandoms of last year. It was hard to make a choice, really. I discovered and liked so many different things in 2013. But here are some of my favorite and most memorable ones!

1) ASSASSIN'S CREED IV: BLACK FLAG : Assassin's Creed and Pirates, that's all I ever wanted.

The Evolution of Nana's casting

Happy 34th birthday, Mizuki Nana! Last year I wrote about . Recently, a new archetype has become more commonplace in Nana's resume.

For the first few years of her seiyuu career (1998-2002), Nana played almost nothing but little/teenage girl roles. By 2001, she was already consistently being cast in various video games and drama CDs. It was a very small range that started its expansion once she played the antagonist in Princess Tutu, Princess Kraehe/Rue. Her real potential was finally tapped into when she was cast as the little boy homunculus Wrath in the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime in 2003.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Issue #27

January 15, 2014
Issue #27

January 15, 2014
Issue #27

January 15, 2014
Issue #27

January 15, 2014
Issue #27

January 15, 2014
Issue #27

January 15, 2014

Looking to 2014

This year is coming to an end very soon. Less than two weeks. I don't know if this year has been really, really long for me or not. It's tough to say. They say the years get shorter as you get older, but right now last year and this year don't seem all that much different. If there is anything that really marked 2013 then it was the death of Hummer, one of our cats. I suppose I do get overly attached to animals because I prefer them to most people because most people suck. On the other hand I have yet to meet a dog or cat that I didn't feel a certain kinship with. Mostly cats, though. I suppose this proves that I should not be the one to give advice on how to properly socialize with people, but if you need to get along with your cat and don't know how to then feel free to give me a shout out.


As of now this is a list of anime, TV shows, and movies I want to see and blog about next year. While I am sure I will come across more things in the coming days this is what I have so far:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Silver Spoon

After the universal success of Fullmetal Alchemist both through its manga and anime forms, another one of manga author Hiromu Arakawa's creations makes its way towards being adapted into an anime series. And while Arakawa's most prominent and grandiose work is undoubtedly Fullmetal Alchemist, Silver Spoon pulls back the reins in order to focus on the ordinary and rather simple tale of a young protagonist from the city venturing into the farmstead lifestyle. Perhaps more akin to her 2008 semi-autobiographical manga Noble Farmer, a work that described the seven years she spent in Hokkaido partaking within the farming industry, Silver Spoon is certainly a telling re-interpretation of that past work, exploring how the farming business operates and trials and tribulations that accompany the individuals within it.

Firstly, those expecting Silver Spoon to be anything reminiscent of Fullmetal Alchemist in terms of scope, might be disappointed in what this particular series has to offer let alone what it intends to be. Silver Spoon is a very reserved series to say the least, and where the twists and turns of Fullmetal Alchemist's narrative made for a significantly compelling series, Silver Spoon is a slice-of-life drama that mainly hinges on making fun of the stereotypical elements of the "city boy" and his struggles in adjusting to the complex nature of the farm life. Main protagonist Yugo Hachiken is the conveyor of much of what we can assume Arakawa undertook when she was working within the agricultural field, with the series often portraying Yugo as the less than enthusiastic urban dweller from Sapporo who initially believes that attending agricultural high school would be simple - an assumption that is far from the truth.

Gin no Saji: An Uncommon Setting

Break is over, for me anyway-someone else is still on vacation for another week (boo hiss). Anyway, so I'm finally back up at school and stuck in my room with a bit of a head cold (my post may be a bit incoherent, I'm kind of out of it). Seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on this post instead of trying to get homework done. First off, I'd like to preface this post by saying that I actually liked Gin no Saji (GnS). CRICKET, CRICKET. I know that's shocking for most of you to hear since I've been pretty misanthropic recently. So that being said, not sure how often you'll hear me repeat it in the future so enjoy it while it lasts XD.

Here's a brief synopsis courtesy of :
Issue #27

January 15, 2014

Friday, January 17, 2014

Issue #27

January 15, 2014

The Animezing Blog Is Back! For Today! + Anime I've Been Watching

I'll admit it, I suck.Updating a blog, unlike a few years ago, is almost a tedious task for me given my current job and schedule.I was honestly planning an audio blog type thing for here and as usual plans fell through.I have the equipment, just not the time.I am not going to promise anything.No regular schedule, no promises of another entry, nothing like that.I'll update when I can.I hope it is more frequent than...*looks at previous entry*...about once a year, so here's to that!

The past year has been a tough one on me as far as anime is concerned.Honestly, I'm wondering if I am slowly losing interest in the hobby.Don't get me wrong, I love what I've seen and still think some series can rival that of American television, but my intake has slowed down significantly.This has been partly due to, again, my busy schedule, where I barely have time for regular television let alone extra things like anime.Last year was probably my slowest year as far as watching and obtaining new titles, though if the start of this year is any indication, I'm on a rebound.The con circuit has also been a bit tiresome.I still enjoy my conventions, just not the way I used to.Also, due to some schedule changes, I may be going to fewer this year, but we'll see.The plan right now is Visioncon in late February, which isn't a full on anime con, but has a neato anime department that I'll actually be helping out with this year, possibly Naka-kon (best con I went to last year), and if things work out, ACEN.
Issue #27

January 15, 2014

Favorite Shows

This is a list of every TV show I have ever thought of as "my favorite show," arranged in chronological order by age. I'm going purely off memory here, so the age ranges may be inaccurate.

AGE 4-5: LOIS AND CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMANThis was where my Superman... thing... started. (interest/fandom/obsession?)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Issue #27

January 15, 2014

Top 20 Seiyuu

It's been a while since I've posted my Now it's time to let the fangirl loose.

I was planning on giving reasons for each person, but I realized they'd all be the same: vocal versatility, wide variety of roles, etc. So instead I singled out a role that particularly stood out to me and talked about that.
Issue #27

January 15, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Issue #27

January 15, 2014
Issue #27

January 15, 2014

North Republic Industries

Rankings: Stark's Top 10 Anime Openings

So one day, I was bored on YouTube and decided to throw together a list of my favorite anime openings. Bearing in mind this took me all of five minutes, I hope I got all of them! It was really hard to rank them, but these are the top 10, although my mind may change on the order later. Comment your own personal favorites and maybe in the near future, I'll post an updated version. Enjoy!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Interests Research

I have done several different posts of the interests drawings. I've done mostly digital art for my interest drawings. I really enjoy it and so I figure I'll do something I enjoy if I have to draw and am given free reign. I haven't necessarily researched much, unless you count watching Avatar and playing Zelda as research. (If so, best research project ever.) I have watched a few videos on how to digital paint though, it is pretty different than normal painting, or any other style of art, really. I often went over the 30 minutes, because if I'm going to create art, I'm going to make it look good, no matter how long it's going to take. I'd rather take more time to create something awesome than take shorter time and leave it less cool.

My interests haven't changed all that much. But I used to be way into superheroes and stuff at the beginning of the year, but I'm not all that interested in them anymore. Also, since the Legend of Korra season 2 ended, my fire for Avatar has kind of dissipated, but not much. (Nerd alert)I got (and beat) the new Zelda game and Pokemon game, so I'm a little more interested in them at the moment. And my friend showed me this new anime series called Fullmetal Alchemist that I have probably spent too much time watching .So maybe my interests have changed a bit.

It's kind of tough to tell whether our interests choose us or if we choose them. On one hand, we like things because they appeal to us, but on the other, we wouldn't like them if they weren't interesting. You catch my drift? So it's difficult to determine whether we choose interests or if they choose us.

Manga Review: "Fullmetal Alchemist" Volume 13

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 13 is a manga by Hiromu Arakawa, and it was published in North America by Viz Media in 2007. Fullmetal Alchemist is rated "T" for teens; from what I've read of the manga and from seeing both of the anime series, I would agree with this rating.

Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric know how to perform alchemy, and tried performing a forbidden alchemy technique to bring their mother back to life. In the process, Alphonse lost his body and Ed lost one of his legs. In order to attach Al's soul to a suit of armor, Ed ends up losing one of his arms. Ed now has "auto-mail" prosthetics, which are designed by his childhood friend, Winry Rockbell.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Anime Limited release schedule includes Space Dandy

The Space Dandy science fiction comedy about a dandy guy in space might have only just had its worldwide premiere this weekend just gone, but the huge international effort that saw the latest series from Studio BONES (Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater) and Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Kids on the Slope) premiere in North America's Toonami block before its Tokyo MX debut has really ramped the speed of the international release the series to warp speed. UK Anime retailer has updated its website with the latest confirmed release dates from distributor Anime Limited, which includes complete DVD and Blu-Ray collections for Space Dandy, which are slated for release on 24th November - that's right, an anime that has only just started airing already has a UK release date announced. The standalone DVD release will include 4 artcards, the movie and the Parallel Works, while a separate release of them on blu-ray is being considered.

Another addition to the schedule is the much talked about GURREN LAGANN: GURREN-DEN EDITION, which launches on 2nd June as a blu-ray exclusive collector's edition that retails for a whopping EUR149.99 (although the included extras will make it worth it!). For those of you not willing to spend that much though, regular, barebones DVD and Blu-Ray collections of the critically acclaimed series will be released on 20th October for about half of the price. The Gurren-den Edition will be limited to 2,000 units and will include a 50-page hardback artbook and every extra Anime Limited could get their hands on, including the Nintendo DS OVA (although some extras are still Japan exclusive)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Anime Admirers 2013: The Eccentric Family (Uchoten Kazoku)

When I consider the livelihoods and perspectives of tanuki, tengu, and humanity, I do not usually do so all at the same time.

(This article is part five of an eventual six part series featuring my favorite anime productions of 2013; consider )

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What it Means to Grow Up?

So, what does it mean to grow up? Depends on who you ask, I suppose. This is the question I seem to be searching during 2013.

For those who are familiar with my blog, it is quite evident that I have barely written a thing during this past year. My reason is simplelife got in the way. It has been getting in the way for some time. There was evidence in 2012 that my life was starting to change. Truly it started to change when I decided to leave my life in Orlando back in 2010 to complete my degree at USF. Still, during those two years in college, I still found time to do what I loved to dogeek out. But ever since the beginning of 2012, when my internship began, I found myself making a sacrifice I didn't realize I was even making. I was slowly giving up my time as a geek to become one with the real world. I devoted myself to my work by taking on a teaching job that involves a lot of time and energy. It also started to provide me with a regular paycheck that was less than expected (especially when I came to the realization that I need to furnish my new apartment and begin to improve my credit by paying my bills and taking care of my early adulthood financial mistakes). Do not get me wrong, I am not complaining about my job. I have always wanted to be a teacher and I enjoy what I do, but there is something that came with my work that I was not expecting. The sacrifices I had to make to be truly on my own. That being my geekdom.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the first anime I have completed since -- and not for lack of trying, but because nothing else I watched compared in quality to Monster and, inevitably, my interest would wane.

To be honest, my interest nearly waned with FMA:B as well.I have neither read the manga nor seen the original 2003 anime.I also didn't know anything about the show, other than that it is generally highly regarded.Nevertheless, the first handful of FMA:B episodes did not immediately grab me for 2 main reasons:

The Winter 2014 Anime Season: What Seems Good and Not-So-Good

I'm actually kind of excited about this season. I'm seeing more shows that I am interested in than last season, and two shows with significant yuri content that I expect to enjoy. Here's hoping it lives up to expectations!


Fairy Tail Part Five (2013)


At the beginning of the series, Lucy joins the guild, meeting Natsu Dragneel (voiced in Japanese by Tetsuya Kakihara from Bleach, Blue Exorcist and Black Lagoon - as well as dozens of other very good series which don't start with "bl" - and in English by Todd Haberkorn from One Piece and Naruto Shippuden) along the way. Natsu, a fully-fledged member of the guild, is also a dragonslayer, a very rare type of wizard actually taught magic by the dragons themselves. His companion, Happy (voiced in Japanese by Rie Kugimiya, who won acclaim for her roles in Zero no Tsukaima and Toradora, and in English by Deadman Wonderland's Tia Ballard) just so happens to be a blue, flying, talking cat, just in case there was any lingering doubt regarding the magical nature of the series. The different wizard guilds exist to allow wizards to gain rank and experience in their crafts, and also for wizards to find work, whether in creating magical items or fighting off terrifying and powerful monsters. Each guild has its own reputation and personality and there is great rivalry between different guilds.

Germanic Influence in Anime

Cultural flows between nations are extremely interesting phenomena. They represent the inter-connectedness of our world and the people who inhabit it while also providing alternate channels for nations to exert "influence" outside of typical economic, political, or military spheres. This type of cultural clout, often termedto distinguish it from the "hard power" type of stuff listed previously, is a really cool way to look at international relations, especially for anime fans such as ourselves who are very much in the midst of this type of thing. More importantly, however, soft power is in fact in fact the largest type of exposure a great majority of Americans (and perhaps most nations) actually receive from other nations. Many more of us, for instance, watch shows like Doctor Who or Sherlock than keep up to date with British politics and international relations. We form our opinions based on scattered memories and experiences, encounters with strangers and small snippets of news articles we skim over while browsing the web. Most of the time, we don't bother getting to the bottom of things, or investigating the details behind what we're reading: the information we get is crudely processed into an image, an association, between a country, it's people, and other things we know. Why exactly are 's actions able to drastically change the image of an organization of the Catholic Church in the span of only a year? Why does anime and otaku culture exert such a strong influence over us-especially for us elitist anibloggers, for whom it's significantly affected our lives and hobbies? How does society and culture (as well as our own psyches) lead to, strengthen, and perpetuate these influences? How do influences play off each other?

Since I'm obsessed with anime, and since I love these types of questions, I decided to look into some of the influences present in anime itself. As anime is popular worldwide (it may make up to 50% of all cartoons broadcast worldwide, according to some estimates!) and generally regarded as a big form of Japanese soft power, noticeable influences on the genre are also simultaneously exposed to a global audience. A type of 2nd-order soft power, expressed through anime.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Attack on Titan is Larger That it Seems

The title card for Attack on Titan.

I bet when Mikasa Ackerman becomes old enough to drink, she'll enjoy taking shots of Jaeagermeister.


So to start kick off 2014 with a bang I thought I'd do something special and as the title suggests, it'll be the thirty day anime challenge which will involve a different fact opinion from my anime experience so let's get this show on the road...


South Korea Weighs Legal Patchwork Surrounding Anti-Abortion Measures

In 2000 the South Korean offensive identified issues binding legal experts to reproductive freedom projects endorsed by the American Medical Association and the Justice Department's inspector general. The 1950 offensive, which was relayed to the Fifth Circuit, is likely to have a different restriction on treason.

Spanning the line were exceptions to the memos supplied by the same legal parameters set by the Obama administration, including signs.

2013: The Year In Review

As a year comes to a close, I like to look back over the year and reflect on what happened. In years past, I would have struggled to remember what I was doing in February, but now I can simply bring up my blog archive and see what I was doing then. It makes reflecting easy... or at least easier.


Absolution for the Sins of the Fandom: Toonami's Epic Journey.

In the deep blackness of space, a ship called "Sin Eater" - rides alone, wanted by many - to cure the ailments. To regain and re-teach respect. To answer the call of a lost multitude. It was taken out of commission once, and from its place - steeds with the supposed gift of peace and friendship, only showed war and desecration.

In this space, warlords protected by intergalactic committees who only goal of educating the youth is failing by the day, now use these pirates to trap the youth in a never-ending mire of lies and deceit.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Top 10 Anime of 2013

I watched something like 94 anime that premiered in 2013, most of which were dropped after one episode. But there are standouts, as there always will be. I compiled my list of simply the best stuff I saw in 2013, and then forcibly narrowed them down to 10. It was actually pretty easy until I got to the nine spot. Ten I knew was going to be KILL LA KILL and SAMURAI FLAMENCO together, simply because they have been great but aren't over yet so I don't want to snap to any judgments.

There are also a lot of shows missing from this list. I'd say most notably is GARGANTIA, which I loved the second half of the first episode and the next two episodes of it very much. But it never really surpassed itself from those moments, and devolved into moe slice of life some of the time.

Philosophy of Fullmetal Alchemist, Part 1

At Jugs's urging, I've finally gotten around to watching the 2009 version of the Fullmetal Alchemist anime, known in English as Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I'm pretty sure no one will be surprised to hear that I found it to be far superior to the first crack at animating the series, from 2003. Though that's not to say I didn't enjoy that version; I loved it. Some of the episodes are actually paced better than their 2009 counterparts, the atmosphere is appropriately dark, and I thought it was incredibly clever what they did with the Homunculi (ie that they were - highlight for 2003 spoilers -the results of attempted resurrections, e.g. Tricia became Sloth and Izumi Curtis's son became Pride). It's only that the new one surpasses even those lofty standards. But both are great, featuring a rich setting, an interesting story, and characters who are varying degrees of stylish, sympathetic, impressive, and fascinating.

Of course, the new version does benefit from contemporary technology. The fluid animation and colourful visuals make the action scenes engaging, whether the combatants are duelling with swords, guns, or alchemy, and, thanks to skillful camera work, we always have a good idea of their surroundings and positions relative to each other. The setting and certain story elements reminded me of Chrno Crusade, so I gave an episode of that a watch, and boooooy had I forgotten how bad the action was in that show. The typical formula there is to flash a close-up shot of a good guy firing their weapon, then cut to the bullets rebounding off the monster of the week. It's completely bland and devoid of tension. Gun battles in Hagaren do this sometimes too, but in Hagaren we always know where everybody is, people die frequently and in dramatic fashion, and attacks feel more destructive, making the proceedings seem dangerous and chaotic.

All of that action, however, is not to no purpose. The Matrix has a brilliant synergy between thought and action, and, standing amongst brainless thrillers, was the first work to show me that the Action genre could be smart, if it wanted to. Hagaren was quite possibly the second. Since I'm theoretically a Philosophy Major, I'm inclined to look at everything I see in terms of that academic background, much as a physicist will look at everything in terms of certain scientific principles, or a skateboarder will see the world in terms of obstacles and "spots." This series provides plenty of philosophical material.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Dear Readers,

my schedule for this blog was about to explode when I started it this year. But like always: life interfered.

The great Viz manga shrinkage of 2013.

I've written regularly about my issues with Dark Horse manga over the years, yet I've come to realize something over this past year.Consider all of the series that I've been reading this year that have ended:"20th Century Boys," "Tenjo Tenge," "Bakuman," "Saturn Apartments," and "Slam Dunk."They're all titles published by Viz.For years the company has done an excellent job of using all of that "Shonen Jump Money" to fund lesser-known titles that appeal to an older, less mainstream audience.While that description doesn't necessarily apply to all of the titles I've just mentioned, it would appear that they're not keen on doing that anymore.Whether it's an ongoing issue with the contraction of the manga market, or a sign that staff at Viz aren't pushing as hard for more esoteric titles, the fact remains that their line has become a lot less interesting to me as a result. Though they've been announcing new titles throughout the year, nearly all of them are either shonen or shojo titles geared at a younger audience."Bakuman" and "Slam Dunk" are ostensibly shonen manga that fall into this category as well, but I think their execution transcends their genre definition.They can appeal to kids of all ages in my opinion.Yet there's nothing in this current crop of titles that suggests the same. Out of all of them, the only one that I have some interest in is one called "Terra Formars."Yes, it's a dumb title, but an appropriate one since its subject matter involves terraforming and Mars.Specifically, terraforming Mars via the application of mold and cockroaches with the end result being that the cockroaches start mutating into a new life form.What I've heard of this series seems to suggest "Aliens" on Mars, and given that it seems to be skewing away from the usual subject matter we see in shonen titles, I'm willing to give it a shot.My only concern is that the last time I bought a title based on that reason, it didn't turn out well. Of course, even with all of the above-mentioned titles that have ended I'll still be reading a fair amount of Viz manga this year.They're still publishing two of the best manga in the market today with "Ooku" and "Real," with a new volume of the former arriving next month, and the other still on an annual release schedule.Also on that same schedule are "Vagabond" and "Ikigami," with "Claymore" being published slightly more regularly, and only two volumes left to go with "Bokurano." There's also the fact that there's also some titles that the company has published over the years that I didn't get around to picking up when they first came out."Fullmetal Alchemist" is one that I'll be getting in their handy three-in-one editions.Having already seen the excellent first anime series, I felt pretty content with what I had and didn't feel any urgency towards checking out the source material.Now that I've heard about how much it differs from the anime and goes in darker directions as well, I'll be getting these editions when I have the time.There's also "The House of Five Leaves," which was on sale as part of the RightStuf's Christmas sale and I passed it up because I had too much of a backlog at the time.We'll see about that next year as well. Then there's the fact that other publishers will also be putting out interesting-sounding new series this year as well.Vertical has the one-shot "Insufficient Direction" from Myoco Anno about her home life with anime director Hideaki ("Evangelion") Anno, and Fumi Yoshinaga's "What Did You Eat Yesterday?" which combines her love of food and gay men.Both sound great, and while I haven't picked up a whole lot from Fantagraphics' manga line, they're doing us all a great service by bringing us more Inio Asano when his "Nijigahara Holograph" arrives in March.Dark Horse only has one new ongoing title announced for this year, but I'm going to be very surprised and angry if "New Lone Wolf and Cub" doesn't turn out to be better than "Terra Formars." So if I won't be hurting for good manga this year, what was this all about then?For me, it's just sad to see this company that used to be at the vanguard of catering to an older audience diminished in such a way and not taking any steps to redress that balance."20th Century Boys" and "Tenjo Tenge" both made the New York Times' manga bestseller list, so it's not like there isn't an audience for these kinds of books.At this point, it does seem like it's an audience thatother companies are more than willing to cater to instead. Jason Glick
Full Post