krpalmer: (anime)
Buying anime faster than I can watch it, in large part through the penny-wise, pound-foolish desire for "free shipping" turning most every casual interest into another title stored away here or there, does seem to have brought me to the point where every so often I just shrug off "getting through it" and go back to watch a series over again. The fair number of manga titles I buy haven't quite amounted to that yet, but that in turn has seemed to mean I never quite want to spare the time to go back and read a series again. When an older title that seemed to have attracted some lasting attention after all is licensed over again and released with promises of an improved edition, though, that can manage to get past my resolution.

Makoto Yukimura's Planetes got my attention near the start of the "cheap and fast manga paperbacks" era, and its science fiction tale of orbital garbagemen, collecting space debris and delving through layers of "resolve to exist beyond normal limits" to simple human connections in the end, left me with a "will anything else measure up to it soon?" sort of feeling. While his following work Vinland Saga has got through some risk-of-being-discontinued spots over here, it did get my attention again when I heard Planetes had been licensed once more, now by Dark Horse Comics. I did my best to buy both of the enlarged new volumes as soon as they were released, but it did take a bit longer to get around to reading them, specifically the Christmas holidays. Once I'd started reading them, though, I got through them with the speed of fresh interest.
A few new things, but one old thing too )
krpalmer: (anime)
In getting to read the Legend of the Galactic Heroes novels in translation at last, I am always sort of conscious of having managed to see their anime adaptation first. (At times, too, buying the novels does sort of seem a no doubt inadequate effort to try and "make up" for just how I saw the anime...) At the end of the second novel, I was as inclined as anything to keep seeing the story as pausing at a moment of great impact, but remembering a change in the anime's opening and closing credits (after a good number of episodes spun out of two novels) was one more sign of that. As the third novel picked up, I could see the Galactic Empire's protagonist Reinhard von Lohengramm as having been isolated by that, with his not nearly as totipotent counterpart on the other side of the interstellar space opera war, Free Planets Alliance Admiral Yang Wen-li, isolated in turn by being hauled before a kangaroo board of inquiry. I can understand this steady emphasis on the degradation of the Alliance (with an enigmatic third party meddling all the while) troubling people who might read the novel now; at the same time, I'm conscious of having become more dubious about invocations of "front-line military leaders who possess inbuilt dignity and reasonableness" since I first read the Robotech novelizations long years ago. The one point that might be made in favour of Legend of the Galactic Heroes could be that by this point in the story, the aggressive Alliance commanders have been killed off.
Space opera in the meantime )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
As I worked on my latest "quarterly review" of anime watched at the beginning of last month, in commenting on how impressed I'd wound up with the series Nichijou I did contemplate how I'd also been quite impressed by some other series I'd only seen via the underhanded method of "fansubs," and then added the comment that in some cases series that had impressed me that way had actually been licensed for official subtitled release over here, and yet sometimes watching through those discs had wound up with ominous sensations of feeling like an "obligation." The sudden news that Funimation had managed to license Nichijou (they've recently released two other series from Kyoto Animation Bandai Entertainment did get to release before being shut down) therefore didn't have to dredge up that ambiguous impression from very far. It might not be a strange personal record in terms of "least time passed," but it does sort of feel like one.

I'd at least like to hope impressions that Nichijou's comedy can be enjoyed over again will turn out all right, although there I'm reminded I now have five volumes of the original manga waiting to be read; at the moment I'm trying to concentrate on working my way through another manga series I'd piled up a stack of thick volumes of before getting around to it. I suppose it turned out Vertical getting to license it wasn't just a singular occurrence.
krpalmer: (anime)
When the "A Certain Magical Index" "light novels" started being officially translated and sold over here, I went ahead and bought them where I hadn't started into too many of the other franchises Yen Press was beginning to turn out. There might have been the hope, though, that this would pull me a bit further into the franchise, and say a bit more about the interest of others that had caught my attention years ago, than their anime adaptation had. (For that matter too, the "A Certain Scientific Railgun" manga does seem to throw in references to the larger franchise every so often.) The only problem seemed the feeling that working through the translated prose was as much of a slog as the handful of other light novel series from Yen Press I have read. (To be as fair as I can, I have read a few novels translated from the Japanese that, while probably not considered "great literature" by those who had arranged the translation, were published long enough ago their translations might not have been "quick, cheap, and dirty," and there could be a resemblance between how I reacted to their prose structure and those of the light novels.)

Then, one day I saw the sixth volume of the series on the bookstore shelf, told myself I'd be buying enough manga that week without it, and left it. I did the same thing when I saw the seventh volume and then the eighth, aware by then a frayed thread was coming very close to snapping even with "Railgun" characters on the eigth cover.

On one more regular visit to the bookstore, though, I realised I wouldn't be buying very much new manga that week, and there was still a copy of the sixth Certain Magical Index novel on the shelves. I picked it up, perhaps even with the thought this was a final toss of fate, but also remaining aware it was the last volume to have been adapted into the anime I did see. When I started reading it, though, all of a sudden I was getting through it much more easily than I could remember with the last several volumes. The translation didn't seem to have changed much, but perhaps the story was quicker to get to the action. I even got to remembering an old impression the anime had managed to pick up a bit near its end from "episodes of standing around and talking per plot arc, and then one burst of concluding action." It had also concluded with allusions to events yet to come; there are two more volumes already out over here, of course.
krpalmer: (anime)
The second Legend of the Galactic Heroes novel has now been translated. At the back of this volume, there's the promise of at least one more instalment to be released, although I still don't know if the gloomy anticipations of other fans that "of course these books won't sell well enough to be fully released" will be realised. In any case, this volume gets a fair way into the story as I've experienced it in its anime adaptation, if still seeming to be a self-contained instalment in the story by itself. Both galactic factions turn to deal with internal dissent, which might only seem to feed into the air of reinforced genius of a still-rising star if not, perhaps, for a very significant loss at the close of the book.

I don't know if the translation has improved to any extent from the first volume, although I did seem able to cruise through it where I've found myself slogging through some of Yen Press's translated "light novels"; whether it's just a matter of this particular subject matter appealing more to me is a reasonable question. I did get to thinking again about the visual reality provided by the anime adaption. In the first volume, the uniforms of the opposing fleets are described well enough that I could envision what was ultimately drawn in my mind; however, there didn't seem anything said about the civilians in the corrupt democracy on one side (comments about the war eating away at its general vitality seem something I don't remember from the anime) dressing in late-twentieth-century fashion or the civilians in the aristocratic empire on the other side wearing late-eighteenth-century European fashions. There are also descriptions of the ultimate space fortress Iserlohn that seem different from the "liquid metal" surface it got in the anime as if to distinguish it from the most familiar visions of spherical space fortresses. However, the novel did get to setting up the "space-ax" combat that's long provided a more striking alternative to just zapping opponents. I can wonder how much more will provoke reflections back to the anime, but I've kept finding interest in what we've managed to get.
krpalmer: (anime)
I've thought of a few reasons why I might have stayed interested in anime for so many years compared to at least some other people. Of late, though, I've started to wonder if I stay interested in it where I don't tend to watch or read "live-action" and "domestic" properties others take a "fannish" interest in because that interest is tied up with a certain few attitudes and judgments that grate on me. That, in turn, did make me wonder if it's for my personal best that anime keeps seeming to fly under that high-powered radar...

Today, though, I happened to see the latest in the endless stream of "licensed Monopoly versions" just happens to be an Attack on Titan game, and that did amuse me even as I once more remembered the days "properties" got original board games made up for them and peered at the image attached to try and answer that all-important question as to what the least and most expensive game properties are (the game is putting the anime's characters on them). The apparent demonstration "crossover appeal" has lasted for at least a while is interesting. However, I did begin searching on a vague whim to see there's been a "Pokemon Monopoly" already; it may be a bit much to try and make this particular instant a "we have arrived" moment.
krpalmer: (anime)
When I joined my university's anime club, more than a few years ago now, members in the know were talking up a series called Legend of the Galactic Heroes. By the time I graduated, the club had started showing the series "fansubbed," and I did find its austere military-political space opera set to classical music interesting. In the years that followed I learned more about the series, but the sense did also build the time when it might have been licensed for an official release over here had passed; even its invocation as a way of showing just how refined your tastes were, or how much better anime had been once upon a time, seemed to fade away.

Then, all of a sudden it was announced the series had been licensed at last; what was more, another announcement declared the first of the novels the anime had been adapted from were to be translated. The conditional nature of "first" did lead to some dark suspicions that would be all we'd get, but as we keep waiting for the anime to show up the very first novel has been released. I did take longer than some to get around to reading it, but I have now read it.
Thinking back, looking ahead )
krpalmer: (anime)
During the season of Lent, I decided I'd been spending an awful lot of my lunch breaks playing a particular game on my iPad (the number-matching game Threes), and resolved to give it up for at least a while. I might hewed to the letter of that pledge while still missing its spirit, however. Having just finished watching the anime series Love Live, I thought I could try out the mobile game in the franchise; once I'd done that, I realised just how effectively it could pull someone in.
An illustration of that )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
In the latest of my regular "quarterly reviews" of the anime I watch, I mentioned having become quite impressed with a not-that-old updating of a vintage series. I also brought up, though, being just a little aware that "Mazinger Edition Z: The Impact" didn't seem to have been widely discussed among other fans for all that reactions to the licensing announcement had been positive enough to get my attention. Somewhere along the way, I seem to have noticed a comment or two about one of the "Super Robot War" video games, which cross over mecha anime old and new but which the English-speaking fandom has to import from Japan and play in Japanese, including that particular series but "fixing the ending." It cast a certain apprehension over the escalating stakes of the final episodes.

To try to be non-specific, the series did end in somewhat the same "setting up" fashion as the original Mazinger Z did, only this time with a rather serious cliffhanger. That there hasn't been a continuation to this date means being stuck trying to "use your imagination," and perhaps that's the problem. For an anime series to "mangle the ending" is almost a cliche when it comes to fan reactions; I've done my best to positively view some of the more infamous series accused of that, but perhaps it's a bit different when you don't sense things going in particular directions several episodes out. Even so, there can seem a trace of "giving up" to let everything seen beforehand be cancelled out in the end.
krpalmer: (Default)
Still hedging against the day I can't come up with anything else for this journal, I can summarize another week's worth of posting computer magazine covers by saying that I added BYTE to the mix (although its first covers don't strike me as quite as striking as those of Creative Computing) even as I managed to get to the end of 1975. I then managed to repost someone else's anime-related comic (related to a series I'll have more to say about when I get to my next "quarterly review") just to keep the topics covered a little more varied.

BYTE, September 1975
Creative Computing, September-October 1975
BYTE, October 1975
BYTE, November 1975
Creative Computing, November-December 1975
BYTE, December 1975
krpalmer: (anime)
A while ago, I stopped thinking too much about the stacks and stacks of anime DVDs and Blu-Rays I've bought over the years to now just take out when I have the chance what I've been thinking about watching, which includes series I want to watch again, but I do still tell myself I can at least keep even with the manga I buy. That does seem to mean I haven't returned to any favourites for a while now (save for when titles are "license-rescued" and reprinted in nicer editions), but just lately I did manage something with a faint resemblance to that when, once more having read all of the new volumes of the series I keep up with (with eagerness to dutifulness), I looked at the volumes that pile up unread for one reason or another and started two old series I've had sitting around for a while.

They were both adaptations of "anime originals" from now more than a few years back. I've long been aware how easily those manga series in general can be dismissed as journeyman efforts offered to those people in Japan who don't deserve anything better because they won't pay for the expensive discs over there, but every so often I come up with a fresh reason, however slim, to buy one of them.
RahXephon )
My-HiME )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
October seemed the appropriate month to watch something scary, so I dug into my piles of anime and located my Blu-Ray set of Another. It was one more of the cheap Sentai releases I take a chance on sight unseen to fill out orders to the international free shipping threshold when what comments about them I do happen to notice seem more positive than anything. My attention might have focused on it because I'd "doubled down" on its story by also buying the manga adaptation of the original novel, collected in a thick volume by Yen Press.

The series did seem able to make the everyday settings of its small-town location subtly disquieting to start with without laying "backwater decay" on; the bursts of grand guignol to establish the curse at the heart of the horror also fit in their own way. Beyond that, though, I did come to think the story managed to set up some expectations and then force me to face other possibilities without sudden reversals, and in that I can think I can't say too much more without giving things away. I did in any case reflect a bit on the white eyepatch bandage of the important character Mei Misaki, having previously understood it to be a minor fetish in other anime series only to then see it made a joke in "Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions."

Aware this story began as a novel, I sort of shrugged off lengthy discussions of just what the enigmatic rules of the curse might be as inherited from the original, and wondered how they would come across and maybe be clarified by repetion in the manga. In thinking that, I did seem to accept the series as indeed appropriate to the month.
krpalmer: (anime)
Ranma 1/2 was popular. That much seemed clear as I started picking up on anime. One odd added proof of its martial arts-cursed transformations-comedy action's popularity, though, seemed to be my university's anime club not showing it, as if the executive figured we'd all seen it already. For myself, though, short of the money to buy anime on videotape and slow to figure out just where in the city to rent it, I was stuck trying to piece together secondary sources. There was an uncommon amount of fanfiction about it in the archives, but starting with plain text and a wall of other peoples' assumptions was somehow a difficulty. Its manga did catch my eye at a time when I thought of manga as "poor man's anime," but even there I might have dwelled on how many volumes there were, and didn't commit. At some point, I seemed to just accept Ranma 1/2 as one of those things too big to get into, which might have wound up applying to all of Rumiko Takahashi's works.
More than one second chance )
krpalmer: (anime)
I've said a few times already how I was impressed by the first Mardock Scramble anime movie, more or less because of the surprising impression it felt "just like" the science fiction movies and OVAs that often featured at my university's anime club showings two decades ago, only with the added polish of an age when certain people kept complaining how that kind of stuff wasn't being made any more with dark allusions to the current tastes of the paying audience in Japan. I waited for the two movies to follow to both be available over here so I wouldn't be leaving off on another cliffhanger, but in that wait I happened to buy the seven-volume manga adaptation, and then the translated novel both of those versions were based on. It didn't take too long after watching all the movies for me to get to the manga, but it did take me a while to start into the doorstop of the novel, wondering a bit about how I read plenty of non-fiction these days but not much prose fiction.

I worked my way through the novel all the same; the translation seemed more than competent. What I did find myself thinking, though, was that it didn't seem that different from the movies in particular (the manga invented and tweaked a few things along the way); I could definitely bring the animated visuals back to mind, and didn't get too much of a feeling that things were being "explained at last" after what had been established in the anime and manga. (I did notice, though, that one of the grotesques sent after the heroine Rune Balot and her talking, transforming mouse companion Oeufcoque to set up the action climax of the third part had just "modified his voice to sound like a woman's" rather than having started that way.) I did, in any case, seem to pick up on all the "egg"-related names just a bit more than before; maybe it would have been different when they were English words mixed in with Japanese. As written science fiction I did get to wondering if it might not be rated as highly as works that "work through their ideas" instead of just invoking what others have already developed, but as a character study it remained interesting.
krpalmer: (anime)
When I got around at last to watching the Girls und Panzer anime, I already had two volumes of its manga waiting to be read, a sort of "doubling down" on the risk of a particular "cross-platform story" not quite agreeing with me I do seem to be taking every so often these days. However, in this case I did grow to feel and enjoy a sense of lighthearted, straightforward absurdity to a tale of cute high school girls in live-fire tank competitions, and I wound up ready to head to the manga. The only wrinkle there was knowing the story was an "anime original": while it's familiar enough to see anime series adapted from manga criticised for "inventing their own endings" or for "stopping abruptly," not to mention for "leaving things out," "not looking as good," or just "getting the pacing wrong" too, manga series adapted from anime can leave me with the suspicion they've been assigned to artists who can't handle series of their own because the cheapskates who won't buy the actual home video releases don't deserve any better.
The tanks roll again )
krpalmer: (anime)
There was another long wait for the last chapters to be drawn and collected, a wait for that final volume to be translated and available in print (it was released "digitally" months earlier, but as I already had the thirteen previous volumes on a bookshelf I decided I could wait out the extra months and avoid "buying it twice"), a wait to see if the local bookstore would get copies in, and at last a wait for the copy I ordered to arrive at the bookstore, but approaching two decades after I first heard about the anime I had the concluding instalment of the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga... and as I started into it, I was wondering if, with the way the penultimate volume had been shaped, after all the interesting and perhaps sometimes even "more positive" changes rung over the manga's full length on the original anime things would converge after all on one ending that had long seemed oppressive and bleak and I'd just have to deal with it.
Beginnings and endings )
And the manga's ending, too )
krpalmer: (anime)
The anime series "From the New World" caught my attention and kept my interest when I saw it streaming. There seemed a good deal of "world-building" complexity to the future society of psychics elaborated in it, and its story had some suspenseful developments. I wound up hearing it had been adapted from a science fiction novel (as opposed to the more familiar adaptations of less involved "light novel" series), which in itself did keep me thinking how English-language written science fiction has seemed to me inclined since the 1970s or so to step away from presenting "psychic phenomena" as if abandoning it to the "visual SF" its fans then turn around and dismiss as much less thoughtful and reasoned. As much as I'm inclined to skepticism about "the paranormal" in the real world and aware that even the most reasonable and non-conspiratorial "psychic SF" of the 1950s might amount in the end to invoking phenomena without plausible mechanisms, the whole subject getting narrowed down to "superpowers" does sometimes seem to miss new opportunities for storytelling, opportunities that just might have been presented in the anime series.
Differences in adaptation )
krpalmer: (anime)
It doesn't happen quite as often in these modern days, but anime series I only seem to pick up on by noticing how interested other people have become in them aren't yet just old memories. There's even a subcategory of shows I pick up on the interest without quite getting just what it's supposed to be about, which can make the wait for them to be officially available over here a bit more piquant. For the series A Certain Magical Index, though, it seemed a wait of uncommon length for it to be available over here; I gather that had something to do with the tangled circumstances of Geneon giving up on directly distributing anime over here and Funimation eventually picking up some of the titles it had or might have had. When the wait ended, though, all of a sudden some of the people whose interest had first caught my attention seemed offended the show was only available on DVD, all the way to criticising the general story setup. I wound up taking my own time getting around to watching it, and for all that I'd thought I had braced myself against the criticisms something else about the series (which I soon understood at last as one with lots of characters in a setting like a "superhero universe almost without the costumes") sort of crept up on me.
A certain prosy issue )
krpalmer: (anime)
I do seem more likely to watch an anime series about sports than to take in an actual game; the thought that I have enough things going on that I don't have the time in a single day to watch an hours-long game (save for, I suppose, a once-in-four-years playoff or final) does seem to have something to do with that. Out of the sports anime I've managed to watch, a good number of them just happen to be about baseball. That the sport has long been significant in Japanese high schools seems the reason why there are plenty of those series to start with; as for my personal interest in that particular sport, I do wonder if the casual convictions floating around that since "kicking"-based sports are bigger in certain markets than they once were baseball is therefore to be condemned, dismissed, and consigned to the historical dustbin just provokes the peculiar sympathy that can hit me in other contexts.
From anime to manga over five years' time )
krpalmer: (smeat)
The news some months ago that Viz had licensed the long officially-unavailable-over-here Sailor Moon caught even my attention; long years of history came to mind. I have a recollection of having first seen a bit of it on TV just before first leaving for university, where I saw some posters not that long after arriving and joined the anime club to at last see more of the stuff I'd seen watching Robotech ten years before, and in connection to that I sorted out (much quicker than with Robotech) that Sailor Moon had also come from Japan. Those first glimpses of it pretty much convinced me I wasn't in the target demographic, though (the line from the song "One Week," "the boom anime babe that makes me think the wrong thing," can seem to cut a little close), and the unimpressed opinions the anime club had about it didn't quite seem to just dwell on the "localization." Within a year or so, though, I was getting the sense that whatever disdain those who held themselves in the know had had to start with, the show really was managing to broaden the anime-watching audience over here. Before I'd left university, the club had just happened to show a "fansubbed" short subject attached to one of the Sailor Moon movies when I was there to see it. Beyond that, though, I still didn't count myself as very familiar with something "everyone else" seemed more so, although when a certain memorable MSTing gaped at Sailor Moon and Daria getting crossed over into a "technothriller" I realised I knew more about the Japanese animated series than the American.
Not that long afterwards, all things considered... )

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