krpalmer: (anime)
[personal profile] krpalmer
Three months ago, I suppose I was thinking not just of the latest season of anime series starting up to be officially streamed, but also how in the past few seasons I'd had trouble watching new series that way. Any possibility of making more of an effort to join the crowd this time, though, might have gone by the wayside when I got sick just a few days into April; recovering I didn't seem to have the motivation or opportunity to at least take in lots of first episodes the way so many seem to. While a few series had sounded more interesting than others, exclusive licensing deals and the sudden promise of English subtitles on the expensive Macross Delta Blu-Rays leaving me with the feeling that to watch the show "fansubbed" would somehow obligate me to shell out for importing it (an obligation, I fear to admit, that seems much more broken when it comes to series being sold for premium prices over here, even if those seemingly steep costs are less than in Japan) chewed away at them. With all of that I did pick up a few shows and stick with them a bit longer than with some others from seasons just past, but further developments just a little later on took their own peculiar tolls until I was once more hardly following any discussion threads.

Despite that accumulation of small misfortunes, though, I didn't lack for anime to watch and grow interested in as I watched it. While a good number of series I was watching were older ones, the newer series I did watch seemed to fit in. While I did think at times how I wasn't watching quite as much anime even that way as I had been at the start of the year, I was also aware I'd added an additional competition to assorted long-running hobby projects by putting a fair bit of time into the Love Live School Idol Festival mobile game, which does have a definite connection to anime.

As soon as I'd finished watching the first set of Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans episodes streaming, I moved on to a new way to see the Gundam Unicorn OVAs, split into "TV-sized" portions and streamed. While I had gone to the lengths of buying all its Blu-Rays, I started off with the peculiar motivation of supposing this benefited those who hadn't wanted to spend that much money. By just the third episode, though, I was getting the impression there was no new content beyond the credit sequences added, and a hard cut from the end of the first OVA to the beginning of the second without even the benefit of commercials to go between the repeated footage might have helped convince me I could use the time I was spending watching this series to get to another part of the franchise I had waiting. Kiznaiver was something I hadn't seen before, and its tale of a collection of typical archetypes (although, as always, a series that makes a big point of pointing out it's using archetypes but doesn't seem to do anything more with that can feel somehow underwhelming to me) connected through "shared pain" seemed compelling enough in its first four episodes. At that point, though, I got working on replacing the tiles on my kitchen floor, and with a weekend's spare time devoured by that trying to "catch up" to the particular viewing schedule I'd set for those days back at the start of the year suddenly left me convinced I could drop that series as well. That meant the single series I was watching as it aired was Space Patrol Luluco, and that was a "short episodes" series. Still, there seemed plenty packed into those science fiction comedy episodes. I was amused by a succession of mid-series excursions to other works by the animation studio Trigger (the Little Witch Academia guest appearance seemed worth the proverbial price of admission by itself), although becoming aware how others were taking the series that much more seriously and saw this only as a distraction might have cast a shadow on things before they seemed to rally a bit in conclusion.

For all of that, while it wasn't "brand-new," I was continuing to watch the latest Lupin the 3rd series streaming. To some extent, it moved past an impression I'd had in its first episodes that it was working in "one-shot viewpoint characters" because its main characters were weighed down by long familiarity; its "episodic" nature might sometimes leave me wondering about "shrugging off" particular episodes as I left them behind, though. I had finished Mazinger Edition Z: The Impact before that. It had been quite a ride, but that ride seemed to come to a screeching stop with no follow-up series available, and that did unsettle me; eventually, though, I remembered how the first episode in the set had been labelled the "final episode" of the series. While in the course of the series I had somehow formed the impression that "final episode" was disconnected from everything else, a mere "alternative" anticipation of things that would be introduced, developed, and then written out, the feeling the episode would provide closure other than "the good guys very well might have been overwhelmed unprepared in the very next instant" was somehow encouraging; however, I never quite got around to rewatching that episode to test that impression...

Plugging away on the weekends, I got to the end of Creamy Mami, which kept from seeming "kid's stuff" formula right to the end. I also tended to think that while the opening and end credit sequences gave me a sense of just what merchandising was available for this "magical girl idol singer" show, the show itself didn't seem to push the product quite as hard. With it finished and one of the two series I had gone to such lengths and worries crowd-funding on the former Anime Sols site viewed, I moved not forward but back by starting to watch the first several episodes "fansubbed" of the very first magical girl anime series (in glorious black and white), Sally the Witch. I seem to remember hearing this series had been inspired by the American live-action show Bewitched, which I haven't seen any of; I suppose that once I'd got over Sally's magical powers being seemingly more omnipotent than a personal intuitive sense of "young" characters would have it, I was struck by the simple awareness she was a "foreigner" welcomed by the Japanese characters and of the show coming across less as one impression of "old-fashioned moralizing" than as a different kind of "old-fashioned cartoon mayhem." While I was getting through Creamy Mami, I was also getting through the more recent robot action series Gyrozetter; there remained an essential amiability to its transforming-piloted-cars conflict, but there were twists and turns as well.

I gave up the broadcast version of Gundam Unicorn for DVDs of Turn A Gundam, which I'd had waiting for a little while already. Before that, I'd been aware of how Bandai Entertainment had promised to get around to releasing that particular series at last and even got to the point of including a trailer on one of its last DVDs, only to be shut down just before it could begin; the new alliance between the Japanese animation studio Sunrise and the American online store Right Stuf to put Gundam back in print had given pride of place to the series. Even before that, I had wondered a bit about impressions that when it had first premiered at the close of the previous millennium, it hadn't been regarded well by English-speaking fans at least, if seemingly in large part for the apparently trivial reason of its mechanical designs looking strange. As time passed, though, and one Gundam series after another now first viewed week-to-week through "fansubs" wound up in the doghouse of fan opinion, as if to reclaim something that hadn't been subjected to that peculiarly corrosive gauntlet opinions of Turn A Gundam seemed to improve. The series is set in a distant future where the Earth seems to have rebuilt itself to around a decade or two on either side of World War I (I'm afraid the impression sometimes strikes me this was as much to keep from having to animate horses as anything else) and people begin arriving from the Moon; there's a slow build to conflict (I was struck in the first episodes by impressions the Earth people were being consistently provocative and the Moon folk were showing restraint, somehow different from the way this often seems to work out) with a peculiar kind of Gundam mobile suit breaking out from under stone. I suppose the amiable, rambling tone of much of the series can seem a strength and a weakness at once. Along with that, I began watching another long-promised series, Giant Gorg. Bandai Entertainment had talked about releasing that series from the 1980s in the boom times of the previous decade, but the plans had trailed off with vague explanations of inadequate masters having been provided. Now, the "nostalgia boutique" distributor Discotek had taken on the series. It seems a good old-fashioned "picaresque odyssey" adventure, with a Japanese boy falling in with a small group of mismatched adventurers to head to a mysterious island that's erupted out of the Pacific to be controlled by a familiar sort of nigh-omnipotent military corporation. One of the main character's first discoveries, just a few episodes in, is the eponymous Gorg, at first glance an (already) old-fashioned self-contained giant robot the main character rides outside. Although at times convinced I can be unfortunately oversold on some long-praised series from the 1980s, I do seem to be enjoying Giant Gorg up to the halfway point even with the occasional spice of impressions the series feeling at one moment sort of like a "Saturday morning" show over here (and that might be helped just by the series shedding some trappings of period "mecha anime" to pick up a few anticipations of anime science fiction from later in the decade) and then colliding with flashes of more "anime-esque" excess.

July 2017

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