12 Faces of 2011

Between watching the new season of That Metal Show on VH1 Classic, blasting Black Country Communion late at night to stay awake, and the usual end-of-semester scramble, the so-called “12 days” flew by before I had a chance to do anything. So here’s what you get instead. Panic ulti rendition, just in time for the 25th. It’s the 12 faces of 2011.

#12. Berserk will be taking a short break

Obligatory shout out to Miura.

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An Arbitrary Amount of Time Spent Obsessing Over Japanese Cartoons

When I was little, I used to take painting and calligraphy lessons. My first painting was some random landscape. I used colored ink on rice paper. I felt pretty boss after I had finished it, as if I had just painted a Picasso. My teacher was kind enough to frame it for me. He said to always cherish the first painting. That way, five or ten years down the road, I’ll look at it again and see just how much I’ve improved.

I quit before I got that far, but I did keep the painting. Years later, I decided to take a look at it again. Then I realized something. There’s only one difference between my time as an artist and my time as a blogger.

My shitty paintings were never archived on the internet for everyone else to see.

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We Roll Tonight, To the Guitar Bite

It’s always entertaining when American bands embark on world tours. Take for instance Use Your Illusion era Guns N’ Roses. They played the Tokyo Dome three nights in ’92, each to a sold-out crowd of 55,000 (their largest audience since Wembley). Compare that to the measly 16,000 when they played near my home town back in the states. Why does Japan rock so hard?

Now, I have never been to Japan. Nor do I know what the kids over there are into these days (obviously not anime). But I do get the sense that, in general, the people there are hungry for music. Good music. To be honest, I don’t think people from outside the United States are interested in our lyrics or image as much as the actual music. The average person from Japan isn’t going to identify with the “message” of the blues, or grunge, or post-grunge, or post-punk, etc. They might not get every one of Axl’s movie quotes, but damn the riff to Mr. Brownstone is tasty, and that’s what matters. I mean, why else did you think Spinal Tap’s popularly in Japan was so much higher than in the states?

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Happy Endings: In Memory of Satoshi Kon

As if lured by the Greek sirens, he entered the innermost chamber, the pistil of the rose. There it was again, the enigmatic notes echoed far off into the distance. In front of him, a light shone upon a grand piano, a memento of the opera singer’s former glory. He carefully approached the pedestal, the grease and oil indicative of mechanical parts oozed from its crevices. With the deafening sound, the vestige sprang to life as if it had received the signal it had been waiting for all these years. The music hits its crescendo in full stride. As if to pay homage to Aquarela do Brasil, the camera falls back to reveal green pastures and rose-tinted bushes replacing the scrap metal present only a moment ago. A voice can be heard, “I love you, Carlos!” Thus, he was doomed.

Although I was completely unaware of it, I had just been exposed to Satoshi Kon for the first time. Magnetic Rose is a brilliant short film directed by 4°c founder Koji Morimoto (consequently another first exposure) as part of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Memories anthology. Kon, an aspiring manga artist turned animator, wrote the screenplay. At the time, I was about as much a fan of anime as a clueless casual who resolved to watch random things when curiosity struck. Little did I know of writers or even directors for that matter. Eventually, I learned of the name Satoshi Kon. It was later still, when I began to actually pay attention to his work, that I realized this was the man responsible for some of my favorite titles. By then, however, his time had already been drawing to a close. “Well shit,” I thought as I happened upon the ANN article dated August 24th 2010 (then only a month old). Since that day, a number of internet denizens have written their own little tributes and eulogies reflecting upon Satoshi Kon’s life and works. As if anything more needs to be said about the guy, here’s one more for the record books. My personal late-as-hell tribute and salute to Satoshi Kon.

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Appleseed XIII Episode 2

Look what finally decided to show up.

Okay, straight the point. I have two problems with this episode and the way the show(?) is progressing. The first is characterization.

Recall “the old times.” Words spoken by one Batou, character from the Ghost in the Shell universe. The phrase refers to the ass-kicking police duo consisting of Batou and Major Kusenagi. The Major was boss, so naturally she took point. Batou covered the back side. From a practical standpoint, his large frame could potentially limit vision in close quarters if he had taken point instead (also explicitly stated by Togusa in Innocence when he and Batou team up). Below the surface, however, this simple arrangement reveals some of the subtle intricacies that permeate the characters. Namely and obviously, the Major’s status as “Point man” both on and off the job.

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That Guy’s Ruining a Perfectly Good Game of FOOTBALL!

My first (and last) attempt at blogging about blogging

I got into this whole anime blogging thing in a similar manner to how most other people once did. That is, having found a hobby in anime/manga, I merely wished to express it in some form (and if possible, with minimal faggotry).

The question I often ask myself is “why a weblog?” What strange deranged forces from the depths of hell could possibly have impelled me to create this abomination of various unicorns? Perhaps more importantly, why this particular format? Why not just go to a forum to engage in what the cognitivists call speculation and what the theorists call discourse? Why spend hours recounting the latest episodes with screenshots, summaries, and reactions?

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The Staff of Odin: Where Are They Now?

Odin: Koushi Hansen Starlight or Odin: Photon Space Sailer Starlight is notoriously known as Yoshinobu Nishizaki’s failed attempt to bring back the magic of Space Battleship Yamato. Originally slated to be a series of films, it featured the talents of many returning Yamato staffers including composer Hiroshi Miyagawa and co-director Toshio Masuda. In many ways, this was supposed to be the Yamato of the 1980s. It was, however, not meant to be. It exists today as an object of ridicule for fans and an embarrassment for its staff. Did Odin’s failure put a curse on its creators? Let’s find out.

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