krpalmer: (anime)
Over my last few "quarterly reviews" of anime watched I did start dwelling on how, for all that these three-month intervals correspond to the way new anime series roll out, I was playing less and less of the modern game of watching those series through online streaming. It wasn't the obvious and oft-proclaimed tragedy of "falling out" with anime itself given the slightly-older to "older" series I was watching, but the whole situation of "this first description didn't grab me the way it did others; this description did seem sort of interesting but I don't have a subscription to the service it's on; the stiff price I know this series will be ultimately be sold for if at all somehow still places a shadow over it; I took a chance on this show but it's not much fun watching it when everyone else winds up complaining a few episodes in" felt far from ideal.

If not in the very nick of time, though, the past three months were different at last, as several descriptions caught my attention. The new alliance between the online streaming service Crunchyroll and the more traditional disc-producing company Funimation could have helped put more options within my casual reach. More than that, I managed to stick with the shows I started, even if there were still problems with "the real jackpot is when your sagacity is shown by everyone else liking what you do," and added ambiguities about how slow the particular message board I've focused on for a long time has become, at least when it comes to week-by-week discussions. It is somehow different to "watch a show by myself at my own pace" (even if that pace may only be twice as fast as "once a week"), anyway.
Streaming, part 1: WWW.Wagnaria and Izetta: The Last Witch )
Streaming, part 2: Brave Witches and Keijo!!!!!!!! )
Two different takes: Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans and Turn A Gundam )
Two takes on something else: Animation Runner Kuromi and Shirobako )
Catching up to the crowd: One Punch Man and Mob Psycho 100 )
To round things out: Symphogear G and Princess Tutu )
krpalmer: (Default)
Always looking for my next book to read, I dug into a somewhat older pile and pulled out a library discard I'd managed to buy at a book sale a while ago. Thinking back, I don't suppose I'd have hesitated much at the chance to get an old copy of Gerard K. O'Neill's The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space, but I'm pretty sure that once I had the book I only skimmed through it and then left it to sit. You may not have to fear the ominous future "if these immense space colonies aren't built for the good of everyone" sketched out early in the book is now inescapable, or even springboard off to heap blame on familiar agencies for not having your ticket up to "L5" already (as I recall the foreword by someone else to a more modern reprint did), to still dwell on the whole "I resent this gee-whiz technology from popular works in decades past not being available yet" attitude. At the same time, though, I was quite aware there are people other than embittered space buffs who would recognize O'Neill's designs; they were pulled into the setting of the original Mobile Suit Gundam anime, adding a distinguishing factor other than "just" "giant piloted robots of a particular design."
Selling a concept versus building a story )
krpalmer: (anime)
I've spent slices of this year just sort of reflecting on having watched anime for quite a while, and made a proper anniversary of it by watching several series from "decades past." Looking the other way, though, could trouble me a little. I kept having trouble finding new series streaming online (on the limited number of streaming services I do subscribe to) that sounded interesting to me; for some reason, I'm not as eager as some to play the modern game of just starting to watch everything available and pruning my viewing list mere weeks later with a shrug. With all the series I've bought over the years (and sometimes for slim enough reasons) I never lacked for things to watch anyway, but I can think that at some point the series I'm not watching now will be what's for sale.
Starting off: Your Lie in April, Another, and Mazinger Z )
Some effort made: Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans )
Moving along: Hidamari Sketch Honeycomb and Angelic Layer )
Finishing off: Yuki Yuna is a Hero, Bodacious Space Pirates, and Wagnaria )
krpalmer: (anime)
Three months ago, even as I made up my second "quarterly summary" of anime watched in what's for me a multifold "anniversary year," I did dwell a bit more on one continuing development. While I'd pretty much liked the shifting mix of older and recent shows I'd just seen, I'd also sat out altogether the modern game of watching that season's new series week-by-week streaming. A complex mix of feelings had gone into that, and while they might all have been plain irrational, I suppose I could wonder where straight lines might point.

Straight lines can also bend, though, and just like in last year's summer I did manage to pick back up on streaming. While I wound up seeing a few people complaining the season felt thin for them, starting from zero makes anything more a plus. I suppose it helped that some sequels to series I'd seen were showing up: that's good for avoiding "not getting grabbed by the initial summaries" and at least did a bit to hold down the fear of "starting to watch something the discussion of turns to condemnation." I even managed to avoid being completely discouraged from beginning some series at all by thoughts that, despite even sounding sort of interesting, they'd only be available for later purchase as take-it-or-leave-it "quasi-imports" twice the price or more of any seemingly comparable amount of video sold on this side of the Pacific. With all of that, though, I was still watching plenty of "older and recent" series, taking them at my own pace and perhaps freer to let my reactions be my own with the majority opinions already set and not discouraging, at least in some cases.
An odyssey again completed: Gundam Seed )
Rounding out the anniversary: Psycho-Pass and Mazinger Z )
Back to streaming: Knights of Sidonia, Gatchaman Crowds Insight, Wagnaria 3, and Classroom Crisis )
A progression of sorts: Princess Jellyfish, Genshiken Second Generation, and Outbreak Company )
One-shot experiences: Little Witch Academia 2, Shirobako OVAs, Robot Carnival, and Mighty Atom )
One more to finish things: Symphogear )
krpalmer: (anime)
Three months ago another new season of anime series was getting under way, but I didn't seem quite able to join in the general anticipation. In half a month I'd be leaving on a vacation, and while I was preparing to bring an assortment of encodings to stay on the self-imposed schedule for the antique series I'd started watching at the beginning of the year as a sort of commemorative project, I suspected I'd have neither the connections nor the time to keep up with streaming too. That had me remembering years past when I'd left on other vacations chased by the feeling the series I'd been watching streaming now seemed burdened by fine cases of contempt from what seemed everyone else on the message board I follow, and in the enforced break from routine found myself mentally rehearsing seemingly clever explanations for why I was dropping the series until not returning to them on getting back was pretty much automatic. Even if I did think at times I'd be leaving so early in the season negativity might not have had the chance to really settle in, with all of that in mind it just seemed none of the capsule descriptions in the licensing announcements were grabbing me. That might not have even taken into account how, once I'd got over the uncomfortable feeling the series Funimation licensed for streaming were disproportionately represented among those I'd dropped, the seemingly wide-spread disdain for its private-label streaming service kept me from watching anything on it at all for the simple fear I might see the point of that negativity, or the troubling sense I'm developing a distinct taste of preemptive "sour grapes" towards the series licensed by Aniplex of America and Pony Canyon USA because of how expensive their video releases will be.

In any case, a new season was under way, and I wasn't watching anything from it. I was completely aware this followed from the season before, where I'd only started watching one "all-new" series, and that on a last-moment whim only to drop it three episodes in. I was a bit less aware of missing the first episodes of the old reliable Ace of the Diamond in its new time slot until all of a sudden I was concluding I wasn't that interested in seeing its high school baseball team start to climb the greasy pole again. Still, as often as I've worried about those who sit around and complain to anyone within earshot how anime has abandoned them, the older series to watch before and during my vacation and the stacks and stacks of DVDs and Blu-Rays to open something from once I got back (there didn't seem quite time to get through even a short series before leaving) kept me from dwelling too much on that.
Getting to a conclusion: Sailor Moon )
More old stuff: Cat's Eye and Mazinger Z )
Starting into the new: Strike Witches 2 )
A daring return (at length): Gundam Seed )
A second experience: From the New World )
One more old milestone: Dallos )
The new replacement: High School DxD )
Finishing things off: Amagi Brilliant Park )
krpalmer: (anime)
This year will mark thirty years since I first happened on Robotech on TV and became so interested in one story (even if certain people might put quotation marks around "one") told through animation that I eventually (if not nearly as fast as some) pieced together it hadn't been just a singular achievement from a vanished time and indistinct place; it'll also be twenty years since I went off to university and started going to the anime club showings there, primed by that old interest (even if I hadn't had the cash or the courage to seek out and watch more animation from Japan in my last years at high school) and ten years since the tempo of my purchasing anime DVDs picked up to where I wasn't taking breaks in between watching series. I know there are anime fans older than I am, and certainly fans who know much more than I do, but I do still feel like there's a certain patina of experience on me by now. That longevity still surprises me at times, though, and all I can say is that I got over realising how the "limited animation" gets parcelled out among "standing around and talking," "stock sequences," and "things that do look pretty good," and then got over what a lot of other people seemed to wind up fixating on as "fixed settings" and "fixed characters," to contemplate the possibility that after everything the character styles appeal to me and that's a good part of that. I've also wondered if coasting on memories of Robotech until I got to university might have helped in its own way, too: I might have avoided the feeling that something picked up in the teenaged years would be left behind with them.
Starting off way back when: Mazinger Z )
The continuation: Clannad After Story )
More revisiting: Cat's Eye and Sailor Moon )
Continuing on: Ace of the Diamond, Gundam Build Fighters Try, Parasyte, and Shirobako )
Challenges and responses: Aldnoah Zero, KanColle, and Strike Witches )
Finishing off: Steins;Gate and Hidamari Sketch SP )
krpalmer: (anime)
Looking back every three months at the anime I watched in them doesn't seem to demand remembering too many opinions, and it also happens to align with the way new series show up. Introducing one of these summaries, though, always seem to suggest saying a bit more. Some of the old standards for building an introduction around, however, weren't quite as ready to come to mind this time. If we are on a fixed track towards "paying appropriate amounts for appropriate releases on disc--don't you know things are different in Japan?", it's all happening at a comfortable remove from sight right now. As for an older concern I would set up quarter after quarter only to knock down every time, at the start of the past three months I took interest in the brief preview summaries of enough new series to start watching them through official streaming so that my "once a week" slate stayed pretty full with the series continuing from the previous season, with time left to watch some shows on disc that I'd managed to miss the first time around only to notice everyone else getting interested in, and therefore not inclined to dwell on old worries about "having to accept one day I might have to find something else to occupy my time." It therefore took a little while to get the introduction just right.
Starting off: Attack on Titan )
Continuing: Argevollen, Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, and Akame ga Kill! )
Two different takes: Gundam Build Fighters Try and Reconguista in G )
Happened on: Parasyte and Shirobako )
Getting to: Girls und Panzer and Love Live! )
Revisiting: Clannad )
Finishing theatrically: The Garden of Words and Patema Inverted )
krpalmer: (anime)
I continued to watch a considerable amount of anime in the past three months, but as it seems I always have to find something to be concerned about somewhere with respect to it, I was aware in the first days of April that while new series were being announced for release through official streaming, I would look at those announcements and not feel compelled to watch them. This divergence from "the way things have worked out now" could get to me; for all that I have stacks and stacks of things still to watch I suppose I was projecting ahead to the future when the series now streaming were available for sale on disc over here and wondering. For the moment, however, I didn't seem to be lacking for interest in the things I was watching.
The *other* dose of nostalgia: Dairugger XV )
Hopeful impulses rewarded for once: Haganai )
Not quite out of the loop: Captain Earth and Ace of the Diamond )
Spun off and spinning up: A Certain Scientific Railgun )
On to a sequel: Wagnaria 2 )
The whole thing now: Mardock Scramble )
Preparation: Macross Frontier )
Another whole thing: Gundam Unicorn )
A sequel speedily arrived at: Haganai Next )
Conclusion: the Macross Frontier movies )
krpalmer: (anime)
I can suppose "dreaming in anime" is "a thing," but also something that to make a big deal of will make you seem "obsessed." However, dreaming about the way it's sold on discs and what happens after those discs are sold does seem sort of different...

Waking up, the impression that an exchange program had been announced for the box-set release of Zeta Gundam managed to stick with me long enough to transfer into waking memory. That that particular release would sneak up on me dreaming caught my attention. I have the impression the combined scandal of the opening and closing themes being left off the DVDs sold over here and the subtitles seeming sort of inaccurate marked the end of a golden age to some fans, and certainly did seem to throw Bandai Entertainment into the unfortunate role of the "R1" company that could always find a way to mess up its most eagerly awaited releases until the day it was shut down, but I also have to admit I watched through Zeta Gundam, and then a second and a third time just trying to confirm the personal impression, with the feeling I'd been oversold on it beforehand. On the other hand, I'd watched through all seven Blu-Rays of Gundam Unicorn just the week before, and felt better about it in particular at the end.

In any case, I somehow don't have the impression the dream included news of the replacement DVDs including the opening and closing themes, which made what you would get sort of elusive. Nor did it seem to identify just who you'd be sending away to, which eliminates any sort of prophetic edge. It was still odd enough to be remembered, though.
krpalmer: (anime)
As the new year started, I had a new plan for how to keep chipping away at the heap of anime DVDs and Blu-Rays I've managed to pile up. Where I'd spent most of last year picking out "sequels" and "spinoffs," now I was beginning to think of how I'd bought some series on disc and then, before getting to them, also begun picking up their manga versions with the thought they'd continue the story beyond what had been animated. However, also thinking manga might look "better drawn" or be "less toned down" than the anime does keep me from reading it until I've put in the more considerable investment of time necessary to watch the anime, and as volumes piled up I did get to feeling the stakes of finding out I didn't quite care for a story in the first place were rising. I therefore decided that this year I'd start off concentrating on the series I had both anime and manga for. Then, though, the conviction also hit me I can't let all the things still to be opened quite defeat me when it comes to going back to things every once in a while.
An imposed nostalgic return: Golion )
Starting to work towards manga: Highschool of the Dead )
A theatrical side note: Evangelion 3.0 )
More on its own: Sweet Blue Flowers )
More manga preparation: The Sacred Blacksmith and A Certain Magical Index )
Continued streaming: Golden Time, Space Brothers, and Ace of the Diamond )
Continued personal standouts: Gundam Build Fighters and Kill la Kill )
A discovery: Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions )
Wrapping up with movies: K-ON! and Wolf Children )
krpalmer: (anime)
A few days ago, I noticed an "interest" article on Anime News Network about a poll of "favourite Gundam series" over in Japan with a great deal of talkback already. Some imp of the perverse made me check the reactions first, regardless of how often looking at discussion in English about Gundam (the only discussion I can understand, of course) just bludgeons it back into me that my personal reactions don't always, or even often, match the loudest opinions of everyone else. Sure enough, the very first post was one of the usual suspects foaming over how Gundam Seed had come in second (after the original anime), and Zeta Gundam had only come in third.

A great deal of the following reactions left me with the distinct impression they might be abbreviated to "How dare anyone not share my opinion!", but amongst the ritual condemnations of Gundam Seed (which do still leave me with a slight impression of resembling the all-consuming condemnation of the new Star Wars movies) there were some criticisms of Zeta Gundam, which might not be viewed with quite the same universality of reverence that might have clashed with my own reactions the first time I saw it. More than that, though, I did find myself reflecting on the impression the poll wasn't some "rank everything from top to bottom and we'll form a composite composite of everyone's opinion" deal, but just a simple "what's your favourite?" When the original Gundam got 2,883 out of 5,347 votes and Gundam Seed got 485 votes, that seems just a little bit different from "too many people value too highly a show I don't like!" Apropos of not too much, though, I did also find myself thinking of a recent weblog post making the bold declaration that "Negativity in the anime fandom is on its way out," and thinking "now wouldn't that be great..."
krpalmer: (anime)
As this year rolled to a close I was still watching a good number of new anime series through online streaming and still chipping away at the discs I've piled up. Along with that routine, I also had the chance to try a strategy I've been waiting a while for, ordering anime from the end-of-year sales of the online store I've long frequented in quantities grandiose enough to meet their raised free shipping threshold. All of a sudden, I wasn't lacking for "shows I wanted to get," even if some part of that might have either having forgotten or plain managing to ignore the reasons tossed out on the message board I frequent to disdain an assortment of domestic releases.
Leading off: El Cazador de la Bruja and The Rose of Versailles )
Adventures in streaming: Beyond the Boundary, Golden Time, and Ace of the Diamond )
Fallen by the wayside: Infinite Stratos 2 and Galilei Donna )
Personal standouts: Gundam Build Fighters and Kill la Kill )
Along the way: Space Brothers and My Otome )
Rounding things out: Space Battleship Yamato 2199 and Lupin the Third )
krpalmer: (anime)
After everything else I'd already heard about it, I was quite interested to hear Vertical would be publishing the Gundam the Origin manga over here. As with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's Evangelion manga, having the original anime's character designer Yoshikazu Yasuhiko draw the work seems to have placed it quite a cut above the usual quickly dismissed manga based on anime, and I suppose I was remembering seeing the old "album"-sized volumes Viz had published but not buying them; still, so far I know the complete manga wasn't released over here back then.
Here it began, and here it stirs once more )
krpalmer: (anime)
Not that long, all things considered, after I'd finished watching my way through "fansubs" of the very first Mobile Suit Gundam series (right when the English-only release of it was being officially streamed online), Bandai Entertainment did get around to a bilingual release of it, not that long before it was shut down. It probably didn't make up for that, but I did get the DVDs (even as I was aware how glass-half-empty types could still lament how a standalone and poorly animated episode was still left out and the first half of the series had a trailer for Turn A Gundam, a now well-received "alternative universe" series made two decades after the original). I am aware of the comments about the movie compilations sprucing up the animation, taking out the stranger pieces of equipment, and introducing an important theme sooner, and they were where I managed to start, renting the original subtitled videocassettes back when the franchise had just made it over here at last. At the same time, sort of sensing self-contained chunks of story succeeding one another in the movies can make them feel somewhat stretched out to me around the midway point, and that's long raised my interest in the original series in a "six of one, half dozen of the other" sort of way.
Several small thoughts in addition )
krpalmer: (anime)
There do seem to be a few ways to take the limited-time-only online streaming of several Gundam anime series. It could be the latest sign of the future arriving, but it's also easy to remember bitter proclamations kicking around about how the franchise kept getting mishandled one way or another in North America and imagine twisting "giving it away" into a final sign of defeat. (However, it also happens that a new Gundam OVA series is now being sold in the traditional manner save for it premiering at the same time as in Japan with an increased price to boot, but perhaps that's somehow easy to skip over.) Still, beyond all of that it does stick me in particular in a position of making awkward admissions. Right when I heard it would be possible to watch the English-dubbed version of the very first Gundam series, the only version of the Mobile Suit Gundam television anime itself that's ever been officially released in North America, I was watching "fansubs" of the Japanese-language version I'd got my hands on a while before. I can think of how I cling to the subtle distinction that I tend very much more towards the Japanese langage tracks not because I'm offended by the English language tracks but because I wonder if some day I might somehow become too much like those unpleasant types always complaining about them, but of course that doesn't excuse not learning Japanese, getting my hands on an "R2" DVD player, and importing expensive DVDs from Japan.
A mea culpa, a potted history, and some actual reactions to the show itself )
krpalmer: (anime)
As I opened up the DVDs of the first part of Gundam 00, I had the sense that things were a little different than they usually are as I start into an anime series these days. I tend to buy anime DVDs "sight unseen," and there may be more or less of an initial sense of apprehension about whether I'll wind up agreeing in the end with however many of the positive comments that convinced me to get started... Many people, of course, never seem to have that particular problem, instead managing to watch "fansubs" of a new series as it's first airing in Japan, however far ahead of when it gets licensed and released over here to, in their own estimation, put everything on the level again for having first seen it without paying. I always seem too busy to do as others do and chase lots of fansubs and watch through the DVDs I buy, though... but I suppose that with Gundam 00, I was able to hear enough about the series before it actually started to take the chance on fansubs of it, instead of just picking up impressions along the way until, around the time of the licensing announcement, I finally decide to order the DVDs and watch the series... one of these days.
In any case, though, there was one other thing worked into my first feelings... )
krpalmer: (anime)
There's a column at the Anime News Network site called "Buried Treasure," which points out obscure anime titles unjustly forgotten in the opinion of the columnist, some lucky enough to have been licensed in North America, some not. As someone who does find himself watching a fair number of older titles, the idea interests me; as someone who does mix in newer titles as well and can get annoyed when a fan of old anime seems to come across as obsessed with complaining how the new stuff just isn't as good, the fact that the column never comes across as arrogant that way keeps me reading it.
Meditations on reactions to Gundam 0080 )

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