xparrot: (WALL-E)
Saw The Martian last night. Absolutely loved it, the best time I've had in a movie theater in a while. Okay, I'm on board with anything that has astronauts and scientists as Big Damn Heroes, but it's a great film all around.

More review, minor spoilers ) Flawless entertainment, four stars, would recommend to everyone!

Was in a particularly good mood for it because on [livejournal.com profile] naye's recommendation we've been watching the anime Space Brothers, which feels like it could be in the same universe (except there's no Japanese astronaut on Mars, but maybe Mutta was on an earlier mission!) I also recommend that to anyone interested in space exploration, or who'd like a story about someone in their thirties going ahead and pursuing their crazy childhood dreams - it's a slice-of-life anime about a salaryman who loses his job and enters the astronaut application and training program, following his younger brother who stayed committed to their childhood ambitions and is already a successful astronaut. (I admit, the running theme of being an older sibling surpassed by their younger sibs as adults plays very close to my heart, and it's not someone there's a lot of fiction about. And Mutta and Hibito have one of the most normal and healthy sibling relationships I've seen in anime or most other fiction, they're close but not dependent, competitive but loving even if they're both bad at staying in touch.)

The show is set in the near future and the space and technology details are meticulously researched; they consulted with NASA and it even featured the first voice acting ever done in space (a Japanese astronaut recorded a few lines on the ISS for the show.) It has that particular sort of pacing that most eps feel, if not slow then sedate, sweet and low on drama, and yet just enough happens that it's hard to stop watching - you get so wrapped up in the characters' lives that you want to know what happens next. And occasionally it will get unexpectedly intense. We've been burning through episodes and I'm going to be sad when it's over (onto JoJo's next, I suppose~)
xparrot: Chopper reading (books)
[livejournal.com profile] gnine is here for the moment, so we've been trying out some new shows! We've seen the first four eps of Sense8 (fascinating, can't wait to see more) and Syfy's Killjoys (want it to be better than it is, sigh) and a bunch of recent anime, two of which I have to recommend for anyone who's into that, or would like to be.

The first is Ore Monogatari!! aka My Love Story!! aka the cutest cute that has ever cutely cuted. This anime should come with a sugar warning for diabetics. It's a shoujo about a high school boy who is the polar opposite of the attractive shoujo hero, both in his colossal manly body and face, and his straightforward personality. Due to his looks, he's never had a girlfriend; they all fall for his bishounen best friend. Then one day he helps out a girl, and you can guess where the story goes from there. Except whatever you're imagining, it's cuter than that. It's a fun, sappy, quietly silly show focusing equally on Takeo, his best friend, and his girlfriend, and the relationship developing between them (don't worry, it's not a love triangle; not a threesome either, but equally about friendship as romance), and most of the stories are basically about which one of the three can be the sweetest (spoilers: it's all of them.)

Also the brother (who not-so-secretly enjoys school shoujo comedies) was honestly wondering about the gender of the mangaka - the writer is female, it turns out, but we guess she might have teenagers, because she captures a particular sort of low-key teen boy friendship in a way that felt very true to him.

If you like Ore Monogatari, I'd also recommend last year's Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun/Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, which has similar character dynamics, though is a lot goofier, more a straight comedy, bordering on parody - of the gentle and loving sort; if you're a shoujo fan I wouldn't miss it. Both are up on Crunchyroll.

The second is Ansatsu Kyoushitsu/Assassination Classroom, which has to be seen to be believed, but I'll try to explain why (and the summary is going to sound more spoilery than it really is - the basic idea is laid out in the first five minutes of the show - but if you want to watch it cold, go ahead, do it, you won't regret it. Provided you have a tolerance for certain shounen tropes, crack, and crack played straight(ish). And a basic grasp of Japanese schooling would help. But seriously, this show is amazing, I fell for it so much harder than I was prepared for.)

So Assassination Classroom is yet another take on that educational classic, the class of troubled teens getting an unusual new teacher who turns their lives around, à la GTO, Gokusen, etc. The twist - and it's a doozy - is that this teacher is a super-powered tentacle monster who blew up most of the moon and is going to do the same to the Earth in a year...unless this class of plucky young junior high students can assassinate him first.

This is quite the challenge, as he can move at Mach 20 (and the brother is thrilled by how cleverly and accurately his superspeed works), he's immune to most weapons, and also he's the best teacher the kids have ever had.

On the other hand, if they can kill him, they get a ten-billion yen reward from the grateful nations of the world. And (hopefully?) save the planet.

And if you're thinking this sounds completely absurd - absolutely yes! and yet the series makes it work. It's crack played straight - not realistically, and it's not a dark series; half the time it's a comedy and it keeps hitting the expected hopeful and triumphant chords of kids overcoming adversity with the help of a few adults who really care. But the emotional tension is all over the place and off-kilter from the tropes it's deploying, and that's deliberately and effectively done, often hilariously, occasionally disturbing. The kids are all the standard types of failures and delinquents, but they're well-sketched and lovable and you can't help but cheer them on...even when you're not quite sure you should.

(As a bonus Sugita Tomokazu is playing the PE teacher/special forces agent teaching the kids assassination skills and becoming way more attached to his students than he should be, considering the stakes. I apparently have a thing for Sugita-voiced characters who should never in a million years be mentors for kids and yet end up mentoring the hell out of them, though otherwise Karasuma-sensei is a 180 from Gintoki.)

The end of the season falls down a bit in how it goes more overtly action-shounen; but there's another season coming next year and I can't wait for it. Not the least of which because there are so many questions about the whole scenario, and it's offered enough hints to imply answers may come. In the meantime you can watch the first season on Hulu. And then come here and talk to me about it, because yes, so many questions!! (I'm debating whether or not to read the manga or be patient...)

on Gintama

Jan. 17th, 2015 05:36 pm
xparrot: Chopper reading (books)
Sooner or later there comes a time when a fangirl must just sit down and acknowledge that yes, as ridiculous as it might be, Gintama is one of their favorite animanga series of all time. Such as when you hear the anime has been renewed (again!!!) and shriek so loudly you terrify your cat. (As opposed to Gintoki's reaction (no spoilers))

So yup, the Gintama anime is rising from its final ending yet again. (Apparently now called Gintama゜ because crack.) I'm even more excited about this than I am about Durarara!!! being back (and I'm thrilled about that!) So many things I can't wait to see animated - the Rule 63 arc (for the entire cast!) Bodyswap! *censored* *censored*!!

And then last night I went and caught up with the manga and...ooooooooooooh boy. Spoilers for the Gintama manga through ch. 525 )

I love Gintama for its insane ability to switch from comedy to drama - I've never seen anything that goes from such extremes as Gintama can. There are a few things that come close. There are other manga like One Piece which are primarily action leavened with really silly comedy. Or there are comedies like Futurama, which is mostly wacky comedy that occasionally hit a genuinely dramatic chord, and it works in part because it's unexpected, because you're not ready to have your heart played like that. But Gintama is so ridiculous that when it does go dramatic-tragic, you're never prepared. Every single time it takes me off-guard.

Speaking of which - now to catch up with One Piece!
xparrot: Chopper reading (Default)
In order of viewing:

Having just rewatched the Ouran High School Host Club anime for the *mumbleth* time, I then went and reread the manga, and oh man if only they would animate the second half of the story! because it's just like the first half only ten times as good. One of my favorite shoujo, that series - the art slides some in the later volumes, but it makes up for it in story and character and comedy and just, all of it. I was initially unsure about reading the manga, because I love the anime but it ends with certain plot threads incomplete and unsettling and I wasn't sure any of them could be tied off in ways that wouldn't break my heart at least a little - and then the manga goes and deals with all of them SO SO SATISFYINGLY! The romance is silly and ridiculous, and the friendship and family stuff is adorable and affecting, and just, awww that is what I want my comedy to be like. (Also there is one chapter that made me cry both times I read it, and it's not even really that sad - there's no death or anything like that; but it just - it's the part where Kaoru tries to break away from Hikaru, so Hikaru can be happy and then in the end - Hikaru pulls big brother rank and dyes his hair and says that they're twins no matter what and so they can grow up and grow apart without ever breaking apart - and just - oh oh oh my heart...) ...And yeah, Kyouya is still my favorite because, megane-type, and that's the whole joke - the brilliant thing about Ouran is that even knowing that they are parody, that they are the ultimate classic stereotypes of moe chars - those types still work.

Then, one of my fellow wranglers forced me to watch recommended the j-drama SPEC (aka Keizoku 2: SPEC though apparently Keizoku 1 is mostly unrelated) and OMG CRAAAAAACK. Even for a j-drama. SPEC is basically Japan doing X-files-meets-Heroes. With vuvuzelas. And starring a woman who I swear is what you'd get if Nodame (from Nodame Cantabile) and Sherlock (from Sherlock) had a daughter. And then died in a tragic plane-crash so she was raised by Fox Mulder. Touma is VERY VERY VERY SPECIAL, is what I am saying. (And kind of spectacular for it; can't recall offhand any other female characters with her particular blend of weird socially maladjusted borderline-unbalanced obsessive genius.) It's also fascinating for being maybe the only show I've ever seen (Japanese, American, UK, whatever) starring twenty-something male and female leads in which the sexuality of BOTH leads is 100% up in the air. They could be straight, gay, bi, or ace - there are hints for several things but no actual confirmation in the show itself. And Touma and her partner Sebumi have this intense but bizarre bond that is entirely up for interpretive grabs.

I cannot recommend this one wholeheartedly - if you don't know Asian drama, you might want to try something else first to warm up, else you might risk spraining your brain; and if you do know it...I am totally not joking about the vuvuzelas. (Also warning that Touma and Sebumi are kind of a manzai couple so can come across as mutually abusive if you don't know your classic tsukkomi & boke play...) That being said, it's definitely an experience! And there's a movie that just came out (that maybe will finish the story?) - very interested in seeing it!

(Also there is Ninomae! +<3333PSYCHOHEARTS)

And last, what everyone's been waiting for - YES I saw Avengers, YES I loved it, YES Joss Whedon should only do superhero movies from now on, YES every word out of Tony Stark's mouth is comic gold, YES the Black Widow is awesome, and YES I love Loki way too much. A few miscellaneous possibly spoilery observations below the cut - I don't have anything in particular to say that hasn't been said before. bit of spoilers! all squee all the time! )
xparrot: Chopper reading (Default)
So we are on the last dozen eps of FMA: Brotherhood and omg sooooo gooooooood *_* LING LING LING LING (not to mention, Greedling!!! <33333) and of course must love Roy Mustang. To say nothing of the awesomeness of the ladies (Hawkeye! Izumi! Olivier omg omg Olivier~~~~!) and of course Ed & Al still hit all my devoted sibs buttons and just, everyone, all of it, eeeeeee! (FMA poses a difficulty because I often tend to pick favorite characters - have favorite characters picked for me - based on who is the most badass, only in FMA that is EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER EVER. It makes it haaaaaard~~!)

...Of course getting down to the end wire here (just saw Roy take out Envy and am starting to get REALLY REALLY STRESSED about who actually makes it and how it's going to end for everyone, because at this point I love everyone enough that losing any of them will hurt (including certain minor characters who initially seemed to be introduced as minor villains to test the good guy's no-killing resolve, and then just seemed to be there as canon fodder, and now I don't even know but yeah, I love them too, ahhhh!)

Looking forward to reading the manga after this, too. (Normally I would wait a bit, so all the plot is not so fresh in my mind, but I'm sort of already getting an urge to rewatch the series, so yeah, manga...)

In fanning from the other side of the globe, we've started watching Fringe - only about halfway through first season and, hmmm. It would be better if the show didn't think it was ~so very clever~ and unique (uhhh guys X-files already did this over a decade ago, on the same network even, you're not exactly breaking new ground!) - especially since the pseudoscience routinely threatens to MAKE MY HEAD EXPLODE (JUST LIKE RADIATION APPARENTLY DOES IN THEIR UNIVERSE.) Listen, I grew up on Star Trek, I love me my technobabble; and I'm all over comic books and their wacky amazing magic SCIENCE. And sometimes Fringe goes far enough that I can enjoy it but sometimes it tries to give 'clever'-sounding explanations that anyone who took high school physics (i.e. me) clearly can tell are wrong and also insane. Which they don't need to do! It's simple enough to handwave these things - just call on a MacGuffin! Ancient technology! Nanites*! Dark matter! Anything! Just doesn't say it's electromagnetism when clearly NO NO IT IS NOT!

OTOH this does have the effect of making me rather fond of Peter Bishop, since about 50% of his dialogue is saying aloud whatever I was just shouting at the screen. And so far I'm liking both his relationship with Walter (estranged parent-child relationships ftw) and with Olivia (their UST has been nicely and maturely underplayed thus far, to the point where I might be brought around to shipping them, if that's where it's going?)

...And then the brother has pointed out that the show is actually an AU Futurama - Walter is straight-out Prof. Farnsworth! Olivia is two-eyed less-tempermental Leela! Peter is pretty much exactly Fry + a brain! Astrid is Amy! Broyles is, uh, Hermes? Leaving only the question of who is Bender...

* ETA: Me, I just think Cesar Salazar should show up sometime. He and Walter are so on the same wavelength (Generator Rex's end was actually pretty decent, resolved enough to be satisfying but maintained enough status quo to easily continue it later, if they get the chance. Also I love Cesar for always; he is such an oddly special take on the comic book mad scientist...)
xparrot: (karkat omg yikes)
Shounen Jump just announced that the Gintama anime is ending - not going on hiatus again but actually ending. Now, this could be trolling the fans (wouldn't be the first time) but the wording is...awfully final. And the show did get in trouble a few times this year for pushing the envelope of offensiveness that much further...

...But why now? Right before it got to the Kintoki arc that I desperately wanted to see - and it's not going to adapt the current manga arc either (which I had been avoiding since I prefer to watch anime unspoiled, but had to check it out and oh my god it's got Joui flashbacks and backstory with Shouyou-sensei - that is to say, it's in the full-out shounen action mood that it does so very well, and the anime does even better...) The thing is, if the One Piece anime was canceled, I'd be unhappy, and I'd miss the seiyuu dreadfully - but we'd still have the manga, and the anime has never reached the original's quality, in art or pacing or anything else. But Gintama is one of the only series where I outright prefer the anime to the manga - it's such a loyal adaption, but the jokes are funnier animated and the art is far prettier (Sorachi's art has improved somewhat over time, but writing is still where his talents lie). Not to mention Gintoki without Sugita's voice is like...chocolate without peanutbutter! Fries without ketchup! Metaphors without food! (hmm, maybe I should go get lunch...) (Plus, it's really hard to find raws of the manga, and I can barely understand them as it is. The official manga translation was discontinued, and while there is a group scanlating it, the level of translation is about at my own - no offense to the translators; the series is a nightmare, but comparing to the raws I've found multiple lines that even I know are wrong, elementary Japanese mistakes like mistaking an emphatic 'ja nai' for a negative. The fansubs for Gintama aren't fantastic but better than the scanlators, so without the anime I'm going to be lost...)

There is always the hope of movies, of course, or endless OAVs like Hunter x Hunter. And yeah, until I know for sure otherwise I'm still going to keep a little hope we're being trolled. But all the same...sigh.

Also my silly cartoon Generator Rex has apparently ended; haven't watched the last eps yet, but I don't see how they could tie up the whole arc in the few they have left. Plus it means we'll never get the Rex-goes-to-Ben-10's verse x-over I craved, with Rex flirting with Gwen and Kevin flipping out and Ben & Rex making out... ;_;

In better animation news, am about halfway through Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and loving it! Such an incredibly creative and unique story, and it's so much more satisfying than the first anime; the plot actually hangs together and is going somewhere. Plus Roy Mustang is 100x more badass, gaaaah Roy. (Also there is a particular character of whom I hadn't realized how fond I'd become, until suddenly that character wasn't that character anymore and I realized how very upsetting I found it. I do so enjoy it when a series can do that to me, sneak up and make me fall in love before I even realize it's happening (though man I am hoping said char is restored somehow, and being FMA I have no guarantee...!))
xparrot: Chopper reading (Default)
Silly, silly show, all the way through - I enjoyed it, but 50% of that was because it was superheroes, and the other 50% was akin to the ahahahahah what are they doing now?! that I get from SPN. It was such blatant fujoshi bait all the way through - the eyelashes line in the penultimate ep, omgwtflol! (the bro loved it for that - he find gay chicken exceedingly amusing, whether it's guys playing it or TV shows.)

After finishing T&B, I've developed a crack theory that the show was originally meant to be something much darker than it was, and then they got sponsored by real companies and couldn't go there. I have no proof, it's just...okay, the series is supposedly set in the 1970s - we get a date at one point, I can't remember exactly what it is, but it's the '70s, and the fashion and haircuts fall in line with that. But they have futuristic technology and superheroes with mutant powers and Japanese-style costumes, and they're living in the city of Stern Bild, which has its own currency so is clearly not American, but is English-speaking (though the characters come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds appropriate to New York) and looks exactly like Manhattan, only minus Lady Liberty and plus a bunch of weird victory statues, and an extra ring level a la FFVII's Midgar.

We spent most of the show joking that Stern Bild was New York as bought out by the Japanese, but given the Germanese name, and the rest - I seriously wonder if it was originally intended to be an Axis-won-WWII AU. And then when it became a goofy semi-parody show that was deemed too dark a theme, but they kept the trappings? It makes about as much sense as anything else about the show...
xparrot: (happy seal!)
Have seen the first 6 eps of Tiger & Bunny with the bro - mucho enjoyment but then we're both weak to superheroes. It's not really a superhero parody so much as a straight superhero show that happens to fall on the sillier end of the spectrum, though it seems to be slowly sliding to the more serious side, as they do. And may answer the age-old question: if Bruce Wayne and Darkwing Duck were forced by their corporate sponsors to become partners, who would snap and kill the other first? Seiyuu bonus: +30 in sexiness for Hirata Hiroaki (mmmm) and +42 in brain breakage for my beloved Tsuda Kenjirou as the flaming-in-every-meaning-of-the-word Fire Emblem (?!!?!?!?111!!?!)

In other superhero news, Peter David wrote the last ep of Ben 10, which was a not-really-disguised-at-all anti-Gitmo ep. No really. (Apparently it was mostly Dwayne McDuffie's idea, though he wasn't the writer. Not at all surprising, but damn, it makes his loss hurt that much more.) (Also it aired on Friday 4/29, interesting timing to say the least). Torn between OMGLOLWHUT at political soapboxing on a ridiculous kid's cartoon and crying honest tears of rage because seriously, if you can reduce the moral complexity of a situation to the black&white ethics of a superhero world in 20 minutes, it's not that fucking complex.

Am up to Skypiea in One Piece reread (or not re- in this case because for various reasons I've never read or watched about half of Skypiea) and love this series so, so much. I think my only real criticism of it (other than the lack of nakama-hugs, siiigh) is that the shounen fights sometimes get a little long - which is an aberration for me because I love fight shounen battles (though more animated than in manga, where sometimes I have trouble following the action), but with OP I'm always so anxious to get back to the plots and characters that sometimes I'll start tapping my foot. Still is my favorite manga ever.

Also I've said it before but I love Odacchi's female chars THIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIxa million-IIIS much. squeeing about the lovely ladies of OP, a little spoilery through Arabasta )

In non-animated news, regarding the latest ep of NCIS (8x23) - haven't been watching most of this season but [livejournal.com profile] gnine recced this ep to me for a specific reason, namely OT4 FOREVER AND ALWAYS ZOMG: a 4-way hug!!!! <3333 That's it, the show could end now and I'd be happy~... (also in the previous ep, Ziva calling McGee "not just any partner" AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

Also, mostly for my own reference, I have still been watching SPN (AHAHAHAHAH the only thing right about this show is HOW WRONG IN EVERY WAY it is. Not content with having killed off almost every recurring female char they've ever had, now they're going back and rekilling women they've killed before, and bringing back cool one-shot female chars to kill - oh, Amber Benson, whyyyyy?)

...That being said, I would so watch the Castiel &Crowley show. It's like the Odd Couple! With more blood and sex! (Okay, that last might be wishful thinking, but then again, with this show's crack count, who knows?)

And [livejournal.com profile] gnine & I will be watching SV's finale this Friday...Lex is back, we have no choice. Pity us!
xparrot: Chopper reading (Default)
So at [livejournal.com profile] naye and [livejournal.com profile] shayera's insistence the bro and I watched the One Piece Strong World movie, which was totally awesome and fun and proves that Odacchi should've written all the movies, because no one else has a handle on his chars like he does. (I really do have a bizarre....respect? for the Gintama animators, who actually stopped making the show until they had more manga to adopt. My theory is that absolutely no one understands exactly how Gintama manages to be as popular as it is, so they don't dare monkey with Sorachi-sensei's inexplicably magical formula.)(With One Piece, on the other hand, everyone knows why it's as popular as it is, but it's impossible to replicate because about 80% of the formula is that Oda Eichirou is a storytelling god.)

So that inspired me to finally catch up with OP (I'm two years behind the manga at this point - though not entirely unspoiled, which is part of why I'm so behind) but I decided if I was going to do that I might as well just go ahead and reread the whole manga, all 600+ chapters. Thanks to plane flights and airport waits and my Kindle (I <3 my Kindle) I'm now up to the Drum Island arc, and yep, I stand by previous assertions, this is maybe the best damn manga ever written. brief squee, no spoilers )

In other manga news, read 20th Century Boys a couple weeks ago - quite enjoyed that one, too; I do like a good apocalypse tale, and I very much appreciate Urasawa Naoki's clean, strong art. The plot's not quite as tight as Monster but it's just as hard to put down - Urasawa's storytelling style seems to be to crank the suspense up to 11 in the first chapter and then keep it there for the next 20-whatever volumes. Curious about the live-action movie trilogy now - don't expect it makes much sense, with the amount they had to condense, but would like to see the imagery and casting. Wonder if it's been subtitled...

Speaking of movies, [livejournal.com profile] gnine and I, being together in San Francisco this weekend for a wedding, caught Fast Five, no real spoilers )

In San Fran we also visited [livejournal.com profile] spacealien_vamp who provided us with wonderful personalized manga recs, and also shared with us a bit of Scarecrow & Mrs. King (babyfaced John Sheridan Bruce Boxleightner, aww!) and the latest ep of Who.

Lots of spoilers here for New Who 6x02; warning for low squee count )
xparrot: Chopper reading (gintama to the rescue)
Having caught up with the manga, I have to say that while it goes off course now & again (in the standard fight shounen way of occasionally losing track of plot threads and hopping haphazardly between char arcs), the latest chapter (84) makes up for it by having Stein fighting a temporarily insane Soul while being glomped by two teenage girls. Stein's face!! XDXDXDXD (that there's kind of plot reasons just makes it as ridiculous as it is crazy adorable. ^^)(Also must love Kim's "this way I get to hug the professor!)
xparrot: Chopper reading (gintama to the rescue)
So in my continuing saga of catching up on all the animanga I've missed (in which for some reason I keep avoiding the most popular things like OP and FMA - even though I know I love them! - to persist in reading/watching stuff nobody on my flist knows...wtf fangirl self?) I'm now reading the Soul Eater manga. I watched the anime back when it was originally airing and quite enjoyed it - it's pretty generic fight shounen, which is my kryptonite anyway, plus it's got a female protagonist and equal gender distribution of the nakama, which is very nice - up until the point where it deviated from the manga, upon which as so many anime do it went off the rails into nonsense, and ended with one of the most annoyingly disappointing conclusions of any anime I've ever seen.

Am quite enjoying the manga now - for the most part the anime was a faithful adaption, though it cut much of the really blatant and ridiculous fanservice (even for a shounen, the T&A is random - main heroine Maka isn't sexed up so much; it's mostly background chars, with ecchi cat-fights and shower scenes and panty shots and such. The mangaka apprenticed under Ayamine of GetBackers, which explains some of it, though he's not nearly as equal opportunity as Ayamine; Soul Eater (tragically) does not thus far feature the main boy kissing another boy, as part of a magic spell or anything else.) Once you page through those bits, though, it's a fun ride, and now that I'm past where the anime got to it, I'm glad to see that the manga keeps on being entertaining, providing one's recommended daily allowance of all the fight shounen staples, courage and friendship (lots of platonic het friendship! <333) and rivalry and all that good stuff.

There's also Professor Stein, who continues to be my favorite char in of spite, um, practically everything, starting with the giant bolt through his brain and ending with the part where he's a kind of sociopathic sadist...but he's feeling much better? Well, no, actually he's not, but that's part of his charm; chars struggling with insanity are something of a fiction trope kink for me (see also: every shounen series in the history of ever).

The thing about Stein is...Soul Eater is basically riffing on Harry Potter, a bunch of supernaturally gifted teens being educated at an elite academy run by a crazy-powerful wizard/death god who usually maintains the facade of a doddering old goof. And Stein is the Snape of the school, down to being an old classmate of the hero(ine)'s father. (Okay, Stein did the dissection bullying more than being bullied, but...) Except that everyone in Shibusen actually cares about Stein in spite of his dark-side tendencies, and fights to save him from himself even as he's fighting to save all of them, and okay, yes, I wish Harry Potter had done better by Snape, but Soul Eater is making up for it, at least so far (still have a few volumes to go and it's ongoing, so who knows how it'll end, but fight shounen do have their formulas, so...)

(Btw, if anyone knows of any Stein-centric fic/dj about the 'net, please to be linking...?)
xparrot: (happy seal!)
Just finished watching Durarara!! and quite enjoyed it! And we watched Baccano! before that and I quite loved that one, too. One of the nice things about not being into anime for a few years is when you come back to it, there's a lot of great series to watch!

I'll probably have a bit more to squee about both of these; for now I 'll just say that I highly recommend them both (especially to those on my flist who have seen a bit of anime and are looking for more to watch.) They're basically unrelated series but they kind of come as a set, both being based on light novel series by the same author, and with thematic elements in common - massive casts of fantastic and crazy (some inhuman, and some with superpowers, though not necessarily the same) characters whose lives intersect in intriguing and often unexpected ways. And they're both wildly fun and compelling entertainment.

Baccano! is the anime you would get if you crossed The Sting with Fullmetal Alchemist and then had it directed by the bastard lovechild of Quentin Tarantino & Guy Ritchie. There's 1930s gangsters (complete with some of the most ridiculous Engrish names you will ever see - there's a character named Jacuzzi Splot. And a train called the Flying Pussyfoot) and ultraviolence and immortality. And awesome. Lots & lots & lots of awesome. It's also notable for having one of the more chronologically complex narratives I've ever watched (the story unspools simultaneously along three different timelines, with flashbacks and changing POVs on all) - once you get into the rhythm of it it's not as hard to follow as it sounds, but the first four episodes are a lot of HUH WAIT WHO'S THAT AGAIN WHEN ARE WE NOW??

A few spoilery, squeeful, & entirely nonsensical comments below the cut - DO NOT READ if you haven't seen the show; seriously, this one you don't want spoiled )

Durarara!! is somewhat less off-the-walls cracktastic than Baccano!, slower paced and with less clear direction in plot, but the chars are just as compelling and the animation is gorgeous. (I'm so curious to read the books it's based on because I am trying to figure out how it works in print; much of the series is so astonishingly visual...) DRRR is also easier to follow than Baccano is at first (it helps that the char designs are more distinctive; with Baccano we kept mixing up chars. Well, makes sense - in Baccano nearly all the chars are Caucasian, and so they all look somewhat alike; while as in DRRR they're nearly all Japanese, so...) It's set in modern-day Ikebukuro in Tokyo, and the chars are an eclectic mix of schoolkids and gang members and amnesiac motorcycle-riding headless horsewomen.

(Plus it's got Shizuo & Izaya, who are kind of Ikebukuro's Ban & Ginji. That is, if Ban & Ginji's IQs were switched and Ginji didn't have electric powers but was EVIL with a capital EEEEEEEE~~~ and Ban spent most of his time genuinely wanting to kill Ginji for Very Good Reasons (mostly that capital-E-Evil thing).

But they'd understand each other! ...Well, no, they wouldn't, and they'd probably all hate each other, but the point is that I want to see Shizu-chan and Ban-chan meet. ...and likely try to kill each other. But then they could all go and kill Izaya! And go out for Russian sushi afterwards :P)

(My biggest problem with DRRR!! is that there was Not Enough Heiwajima Shizuo.)

A few more spoilery comments below this cut - and yeah, again DO NOT READ if you haven't seen; you don't want this one spoiled, either! )

...Wait, I seem to have said a lot here after all. Heh. My point is - SQUEE~!

on manga

Jan. 23rd, 2011 04:11 pm
xparrot: (happy seal!)
So I am definitely back on an anime & manga kick. Have watched or rewatched a few awesome anime (am inflicting Princess Tutu on the bro now; it remains one of my favorite series of all time. Also the bro keeps calling Drosselmeyer "Dross Whedon" which if you know Tutu and you know Whedon is...way, way too appropriate XDXDXD;;;;;) and I've also been reading manga (my Kindle is great for that, I've found, as long as it's not a series like GetBackers with tons of little tiny illegible text everywhere.)

So, for anyone looking for recs, three entirely different series I've recently devoured. (Mostly spoiler-free reviews/squee - the plot points I mention are mostly from the first volume or so.)

First up, Urasawa Naoki's Monster (there's an anime, too, but I've only read the manga). It's a seinen (adult male-aimed comics) but rather than going for the sex or hyperviolence, Monster is suspense/drama. Go on... )

Then there's Katsumoto Kasane's Sono Te wo Dokero (aka Hands Off!), an 8-volume shoujo manga about three psychically gifted high school boys. Okay, I love this series to pieces for no good reason. )

Last is the BL classic Love Mode, which is...well, if you like Boys Love you probably know it already, and if BL's not your genre then I don't think this one would change your mind. Uh...yeah... )

And now, speaking of Quest, gotta get back to that writing; I've got a quota to fill...!


Nov. 27th, 2010 03:05 am
xparrot: Chopper reading (gintama to the rescue)
(Belated Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans! Hope you had good turkey-days, we had a pleasant time ourselves with friends!)

In the last two weeks or so the brother and I plowed through all of Hikaru no Go (anime version, now I gotta look up the manga to read the end!). It's as awesome a series as anyone ever says, and every bit as slashy. Possibly more so. Shindou/Touya joins BanGin as one of those slash pairings that the brother can only sigh and admit is pretty much canon (heck, by the end the brother was just advising Touya to sex the Sai conundrum out of Shindou. He also suggested that they would be playing Go to determine who'd be on top. And then rolled his eyes when I mentioned that [livejournal.com profile] gnine has been telling me the exact same thing.)

He enjoyed the heck out of the series all the same, especially since it actually got me interested enough to try to play Go - the brother is a great strategy game aficionado , and even owns a nice Go set, but has never really had much chance to play for lack of opponents. We've been playing for the past week or so and now I can just about eke out a victory out of him when he gives me a six stone handicap...uh, yeah, I am not what you'd call any kind of game aficianado. (Also we are both the world's worst losers and get incredibly sulky when a game goes badly. Sometimes both of us at the same time, because we'll both have screwed up badly and then we start arguing over who's further behind ^^;;;)

But really, even if you have no interest in Go it's a great, cute series. Has the sports-shounen sort of feel in that there's antagonists but no real villains (even if Ogata deserves some kind of reward for being the Creepiest Glasses-Wearing Biseinen to Never Actually Do Anything Evil Despite Appearing As If He's Plotting Wicked Perverted Things All the Time to appear in an anime. I kind of love him for it.) And even putting aside the slashiness, Hikaru and Akira have to be the most dedicatedly mutual rivals I've ever seen in a shounen mildly spoilery )
xparrot: Chopper reading (gintama sword)
Looking over Gintama manga, scanlations and original raws, I noticed something odd. The scanlations I have are from the SJ chapters, while the raws are scans of the tankoubon - and they're different. The tankoubon raws have some extra pages - so far I've noticed 4 extra pages at the end of the Tama Virus arc, and one at the Character Poll arc. New art, new dialogue - did Sorachi expand them a bit for the tankoubon, or what? Also of interest, at least in the Virus arc, the added pages match the anime's end - the tag with the Leukocyte King fighting is in the tank. but not the scanlation. And the final lines before that are different as well (specifically the scanlation is missing the Leukocyte King's line about being a copy of a troublesome man who can't even say thank you or cry, and what would Gintoki do in this situation? And Gintoki's "Smile." (which exchange I <3, a lot.)) This doesn't seem to be a translation error, since the page layouts are different... (The line they have instead is also cute but rather different; wonder what the original Japanese was...?)

Or is this a common thing with manga and I've just never noticed it before? I know that Saiyuki's chapters were sometimes published with incomplete art and completed in the tankoubon, but that was a different situation, so...? OTOH, given the extreme deadlines weekly shounen mangaka operate under, it wouldn't surprise me...

(This is also making me curious - when looking at some of the later scanlations I've noticed translations that are completely different from what was said in the corresponding scene in the anime - and when I've looked at the raws, the anime lines seem to be what was in the original manga; I was thinking the translation was either really bad or was possibly being done from another source (like the Chinese version), but now I'm wondering if Sorachi actually adjusts the manga scripts when they get collected in the tankoubons, and the anime is done off the new scripts?)
xparrot: (happy seal!)
So...and I hesitate to say it because it's been a while since I've felt like this and it's a fragile unsure thing, but...I may be falling for a new anime series. (Or an old series, rather, but one new to me.) A shounen series, a fight shounen series, with all the ridiculous completely OTT badassery and nakamaship and epic inspirational speeches and dramatic flashbacks and CRACK CRACK CRACK ZOMFG DID I MENTION CRACK that that implies.

The series, as referenced in my last post, is Gintama; I'm a little more than a hundred eps in (it's (only ;_;) 200 eps. It's a Shounen Jump series; that's not especially long. Right? RIGHT? ^^;) and...if my soul isn't devoured yet, it's definitely being gnawed on.

(Rather like this:

Oh, Gintama
Both pic and joke taken from [livejournal.com profile] naye's marvelous intro post here. I swipe without shame because this is at least 70% her fault for pimping the series to me to begin with XP)

Which is slightly embarrassing, because...it's Gintama. This is the series which the author mentions in the second volume that readers are ashamed to ask for by name in the bookstore. Because its name is Gin Tama - "銀魂", "Silver Soul", a perfectly reasonable shounen title, except that it just happens to sound an awful lot like "Kin Tama" - "金玉" - "Golden Balls". In Japanese, "golden balls" is slang for exactly what you think it should be slang for.

And that right there gives you a good idea of what kind of series Gintama is. and I go on for some time explaining how there's a soul in these balls after all; mostly spoiler-free pimping minus a few references to specific gags )

And a couple of the openings, to give you a taste: )
xparrot: (happy seal!)
Since I've been reading xxxHolic for a while, figured I should finally catch up with Tusbasa Reservoir Chronicle. So, just finished that.


There is not enough "OH CLAMP" in the world. In the world.

(For those not familiar, CLAMP is one of the most popular shoujo manga makers; they have gorgeous art and storylines which OTT can't even begin to describe. Tsubasa was a foray into shouen manga and an excuse to revisit most of their previous series. Basically imagine if Joss Whedon's next show was a Sliders ripoff with Buffy & [insert pairing partner of your choice] and a couple new friends going on an epic quest across the dimensions and meeting AU versions of every Joss!verse char. Then add a random supervillain, magic feathers, and time-travel. That's Tsubasa.)(Oh, and wildly angsty backstories and oodles of barely subtextual slash. But that's only to be expected with CLAMP.)

a bit more (with spoilers) )

I've also been watching Gintama, but that is deserving of its own post. In a nutshell: OMGWTFBBQLOLOLOLOLOL4EVER!!11eleventy1!
xparrot: (happy seal!)
A few years back I got into the manga Eyeshield 21, which was unexpected because I've never been into sports of any kind, much less American football, and I'd never read a sports manga (to this day I've managed to miss Prince of Tennis). But ES21 has Hiruma, you see, and once you know Hiruma there's no going back.

The series finished last year, but I wasn't reading manga then, so missed the end. Recently, however, I watched Oofuri (anime based on an award-winning seinen manga about high school baseball. If you like ADORABLE high school boys being ADORABLE (and teamy and slashy and sweet and learning how to make friends and believe in themselves and did I mention ADORABLE?) I highly recommend it. Even if you don't give a fig about baseball) and that got me back in the sports manga mood (if by sports one means intense and ridiculous and cute team stories that just happen to revolve around playing a game rather than saving the world, but same difference, really.)

So I went back to Eyeshield 21, and not remembering the story well I went and read it from the beginning. And ended up falling in love all over again - unlike Oofuri's beautifully low-key, realistic characters and games, ES21 is totally OTT and zany and absurd and so much fun. It's got fantastically lovable characters and great art, and really, what more do you want out of a series? Even if it is about football...

bit more nattering, some spoilers )

Now I've found some GetBackers scanlations, so am going to be actually reading the bug arc for the first time, rather than just skimming it and enjoying the aaaaangst (I have it in Japanese, but GetBackers is ha~rd to read, between the slang and the pseudoscience...) BanGin forever! *_*

(and a quick personal note, am leaving tomorrow to visit [livejournal.com profile] gnine in England for a couple of weeks (\o/\o/\o/), so if I'm slow to comment or reply, that's why!)
xparrot: (happy seal!)
So, according to the most recent update, the seiyuu (VAs) for the Supernatural anime will be the same as the Japanese dub of the show - Uchida Yuuya as Sam, Touchi Hiroki as Dean. I'm only passing familiar with either of them - you can hear their dubbing in this vid, starting around 7:40. Dean's voice is not quite what I would've expected and Sam sounds like such an uke, but I think they could both work out.

...Of course what I'm really hoping this means is that if/when they do get to Castiel (the first run of eps is only going to covers seasons 1-2, but if it does well they'll likely do more) they'll keep his dub voice - can't embed this vid, but listen to it here.

(That's one of my favorite seiyuu, Tsuda Kenjirou. As I coincidentally was just talking about, Tsuda's voice is the sex. He's perfect for Castiel, just the right balance of controlled reserve and arrogance, with a touch of vulnerability. Also did I mention the sex?)

ETA: (And Cas uses "watashi," of course. Mmmm, somehow guys using "watashi" always sounds way hot to me...)
xparrot: (happy seal!)
First off - just heard from [livejournal.com profile] naye that Madhouse anime studio is going to be making a Supernatural anime. ZOMGWTFBBQ THIS IS GOING TO BE LEGEN - waitforit - DARY. On the one hand, SPN is wildly popular among Japanese fangirls (hawt incesty brothers ftw!) so how can they go wrong; otoh SPN is so very very American, how can they go right? I can't wait to see. Also crossing my fingers that the seiyuu casting will break my brain.

In related news, have been feeling adrift of late, not really having a fandom. And in my drifting I floated back to past affections, and after happily paddling in Clex for a bit, I, um, somehow seem to have gotten back into Yu-Gi-Oh. Yeah, don't ask. I have no excuse - I've seen and read dozens of better anime and manga (like, most of them...) before and since, and I originally got into it before YGO: The Abridged Series even existed. Yet somehow Kaiba Seto and his little brother manage to maintain a target lock on my fangirl heart. (I can't help it. Kaiba manages to hit nearly every favorite character button I have - bad-ass arrogant asshole cum reluctant redemption character codependently loyal to his sibling/only family. Also manga!Mokuba is as awesome as he is adorable. Also also Tsuda Kenjirou's voice is still the sex.)

So I've been flipping through my YGO manga and watching my HK bootleg DVDs (and fixing up the subtitles of some of my favorite bits, good translation practice since the "English" on a lot of them is somewhat less than comprehensible.) and fastforwarding through all the %$*@(% card games, naturally. And then ficcing - I've at long last finished my not-really-dead-Mokuba WIP "Safeguard," am posting the final chapters now. And maybe a bit more after that, if [livejournal.com profile] gnine has her way.

Have also rediscovered an old trouble writing anime-based fic - while my Japanese isn't anywhere near good enough that I could write fic in Japanese, I can mentally compose dialogue. When I fic I often try to "hear" the character's voices speaking the lines, and it's no different with anime fic, except that since I never watch dubs, the voices are in Japanese. Which means that on occasion I find myself sitting before a story trying to figure out how to best render kudaranai in English, and writing "Of course" when the char is really saying Touzen da.

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