krpalmer: (anime)
Having made it through three volumes of the “RWBY Anthology” manga did make “finishing the set” seem a little more inevitable. I glanced inside the fourth volume when I saw it in the bookstore, but I suppose it was only a “glance before buying it anyway”; I was still a bit uncertain as I started reading. That the “four-panel manga” that had seemed one of the few really good-looking pieces in the somewhat unfortunate first volume returned quite near the beginning of the fourth wasn’t quite encouraging, somehow.

I was ready to suppose Yang Xiao Long wasn’t that complicated a character in the first part of the animation these pieces are set during, a swaggering, hard-punching, big-sister type. There are a few jokes spun from the unfortunate complications that build up for her near the end of the first plot arc (and that did help make what I’ve managed to see since more interesting), and one piece does invoke the very end of that arc in a more serious way. Still, I got through the volume even with a comment or two at the very end speculating about doing something similar for the villains and supporting heroes. My own thoughts for the moment are just wondering when I might have the chance to see the animation that has been released but not on Crunchyroll; if it is going to get on Blu-Ray the same as the five previous parts, that might be as good as anything for me.
krpalmer: (anime)
With a few cautions still in mind, I did flip into the third “RWBY Anthology” manga volume in the bookstore just to make sure the art didn’t look altogether depressing. After buying it, though, I wasn’t fast at getting around to reading it. When I did open up the volume at last, the first piece looked surprisingly good; I had to go a bit further for things to seem closer to the norm, but there were still compensations.

In the early part of the story these anthologies are set during, Blake Belladonna does seem to have the most going for her beyond “action” with a number of secrets not only to be revealed but dwelt on afterwards. (There’s an afterword from her character designer, who admits “I’m not quite sure” how Blake’s weapon works.) As inconsequential as the manga pieces have to be in the story, I was able to keep reading.

There’s one letter left in the title, one main character, and one volume of this series to go. I’ll still have to see just what Yang’s instalment looks like inside (there were a few pieces in this third volume where, with everyone in their school uniforms, I kept confusing Yang for Weiss), but the thought “I’ve gone this far already” can hold as much risk for me as any other. Reading through the volume did remind, me, though, that the latest series of RWBY’s computer animation hasn’t been made available on Crunchyroll, and I haven’t yet tried sorting out what watching it via its creators’ official site will mean. There is the thought it’ll eventually be available on Blu-Ray like the previous volumes, even if I can fall victim to “don’t look up what anyone else is thinking about it, now or later; that can only cause problems.”
krpalmer: (anime)
I'd felt a bit stung by a "RWBY anthology" manga, but instead of just swearing off the three volumes I supposed would follow I did go so far as to say I'd look into the next one in the bookstore and see if the art seemed any better. The chance for that showed up, and some quick page-flipping did have me thinking things looked a bit more appealing. As I bought the second volume, however, I still had a few thoughts things might feel unfortunately different in total...

All in all, though, the short pieces about the haughty heiress Weiss Schnee did seem more pleasant to get through than the last time around. I checked the table of contents afterwards to see not all of the pen names were the same (although the artist who'd provided the "four-panel strips" that had somehow looked particularly good among everything had returned). I did get to thinking, too, that Weiss has a bit more in the way of complications built into the most obvious levels of her character than Ruby, which makes it easier to make short pieces about her interesting. At the same time, aware of what details have been added to her character in the last two series made me aware of how the pieces stuck with what had been presented in the "first story arc," even if that sometimes included her competent and successful older sister Winter. With that in mind, I can at least hope the upcoming volume featuring Blake, who has a complicated past of her own, might also show some similar strengths (if requiring the same glance through beforehand), although I'm wondering about the volume featuring Ruby's brash older sister Yang.
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
Reading an official, "made in Japan" manga of the American "anime-esque" production RWBY more or less left me thinking of that old, acquired-through-experience suspicion that "manga based on" get assigned to artists who can't manage original works of their own, the that much more unfortunate flip side of the undercurrent of criticism of anime made from manga. Hearing right around then a "RWBY Anthology" would follow, though, did have hope springing eternal once more. I bought the first volume (supposing there'd be three more to feature the other main characters who make up the other letters of the title), eventually read through it, and wound up facing the wry question "when will I ever learn?"

Many artists contributed to the anthology (with a lot of them using one-word apparent pen names), but as I went from one brief, not quite consequential character piece about the earnest team leader Ruby Rose to another I kept thinking there was a new sort of hard-to-explain awkwardness to the art. I suppose one set of "four-panel strips" late in the book did look better to me, and looking back as I write this I might be a little more charitable towards some of the pieces, able to pick out a few action pieces as well. Too, with the pieces being set in the first plot arc of the series there was something to the occasional appearances of the characters who didn't make it past the end of that arc to demonstrate there were consequences after all to the story.

I suppose I've already seen enough proof of RWBY attracting some attention on the other side of the Pacific, a counter perhaps to the possibility of it being "neither fish nor fowl," appealing to those over here who might not know any better. If I do happen to see another volume of the anthology at the bookstore, I'll look into it rather than judging it by its cover.
krpalmer: (anime)
Hearing people in Japan were managing to see RWBY caught my attention. The further news of a Japanese-dubbed release of the "web series," computer-animated on this side of the Pacific, seemed to cut through a number of the things tangled up with "people outside Japan getting so into comics and animation from that island nation they try making something like it themselves." It was far from the only thing keeping up my own interest in the series, but it was something.

After having the chance to see at least some of the Japanese version myself, a manga version I'd also heard about became available over here too. I went ahead and bought a copy, convinced by its cover the character artwork would have more personality and liveliness than the somewhat austere computer animation. (In a calendar store closing down as the year rolled over, I saw a RWBY calendar, and as much a revival of the "novelty" that had first attracted me to the series it was on first sight, the back cover had me thinking inside it was all close-ups of the computer-generated characters, not that interesting to me.)
With a further North American bonus )
krpalmer: (anime)
Three months ago, as one more "quarterly review" of anime viewed meant working out one more explanation why I'd more or less missed out on what seems the modern game of watching new series on a weekly schedule through official streaming, I was at least thinking things might be different in the summer. In those three months I wasn't away on a long vacation, and yet in just their first week or two I realised I'd once more sit out the game.
The latest explanation, and RWBY )
Starting off at last: Little Witch Academia )
Getting around to it: Ano Hana )
Mirror experiences: Zeta Gundam and Gundam Double Zeta )
One conclusion: Mobile Suit Gundam Char's Counterattack )
A peculiar experience: Chargeman Ken )
Again at last: Love Live Sunshine )
A nostalgic discovery: Star Gunman Bismark )
Another conclusion: Gundam Unicorn )
krpalmer: (anime)
The unexpected buildup of its third series, from "I suppose it's playing to its strengths" to "did it just leave a part of its familiar setting behind?", did a lot to revitalize my interest in the computer-animated, "anime-esque" RWBY. I wound up buying its Blu-Rays and watching through them with a full awareness of where they were headed, perhaps still helped along by the thought it was "an indie production" but getting past "it's something it was done at all." (This might reflect a bit on how I did just stop watching the slightly connected "Red vs. Blue" without making a big deal of it.) As the fourth series got under way, I was pleased to see it available on Crunchyroll, even if this might bring to mind "it's perhaps even an all too comfortable way to convince myself I'm not just watching anime."

In any case, as the fourth series got under way the characters did remain scattered and in new places, and that pushed from my mind the wondering I'd done right at the end of the third series of if things might be put too much together again. That did, though, connect to how it might be all too easy to pile up a list of anime series where the characters have fantastic adventures but never have to go very far from the safe base of their high school, although when I think a little bit more about that not all of them can be called "recent" in the way just perhaps used by some for who every "fannish" diversion is forever falling from the heights they started at. Noting the different ways "family" got involved in the plot threads, I stayed interested all the way through. It was only thinking back that I did wonder a bit about the story having taken its time dwelling on large and staggering things having happened, but that might have been inspired by one comment from someone else I did look just a bit for, which may only have reminded me of all those suspicions that to delve too much into the opinions of others for reassurance your own opinions are valid can feel like a zero-sum game. In any case, I'm wondering where things might go next, even with new episodes of Voltron: Legendary Defender available to keep taking that trifling step away from outright anime. (Some of the first episodes in its own new series, though, seem, without having made a big, showy deal of it, to have stepped away from "this is a cartoon; nobody ever dies in a cartoon.")
krpalmer: (anime)
Several months back, when I was looking to buy a null modem cable to try and hook up my family's old TRS-80 Model 100 to a more modern computer for the first time in over a decade, I needed to fill out the online order to the free shipping threshold. At that point, I happened to think back to how the third series of the computer-animated RWBY had sort of snuck up on me and impressed me, and got around to ordering the Blu-Ray of its first series. A while after that, I saw the Blu-Ray of its second series in a local video store for what seemed a very reasonable price, and bought it as well. It didn't seem that much later that I saw the third series was now available on Blu-Ray as well in the same place. Then, with the impression it wouldn't be much longer until a fourth season began to pick up where things had left off, I got around to watching the show over again.

I'd at least been curious about something "anime-esque" in some way associated with "Red vs. Blue," a comedy series voicing over in-game recordings from usually rather sedate Halo matches. Watching RWBY's first trailers had impressed me, and perhaps I'd even started thinking this might be the very best medicine for those dwelling on quite well rehearsed complaints that anime itself "these days" depended entirely on being tailored to a handful of outright creeps over in Japan. Since those first moments, though, I do have to admit to, by the end of the second series, becoming uneasy about impressions of negative comments overheard and the feeling the series couldn't coast on "having been made on a shoestring" forever. Now, however, with the sense the series had gone somewhere, things seemed to fit together better; I was able to recognise as well that in the waits between each group of short instalments some details had faded so that some things might have missed me altogether. Even the second series seemed more interesting now. (It might not have hurt either that I'd noticed that where most of the background characters in the first series had been simple blacked-in silhouettes, work had been done after it to computer-model those bystanders in detail.) I can still suppose each "series finale" might have depended to some degree on sudden appearances, and it's an open question as to where things might go and how accepting I can be (not to mention whether the series will be available for viewing on Crunchyroll), but I can at least look forward both to what's to come and to getting back to the commentaries and other bonus features.
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
A few weeks into its fall season, Crunchyroll added the third series of the computer-animated RWBY. This was just when I had dropped one of the few new anime series I had so much as taken a chance on that season, so I had the time to start watching this more "domestic" production and the readiness to see it as softening the added blow to not playing the game so many others seem to these days of gulping down great quantities of up-to-date anime. However, it was possible that one small advantage of watching RWBY was that it was just a bit easier to avoid the comments of others about it lest they grind down whatever positivity I could manage the way they sometimes do with anime series themselves.

That the people making RWBY were able to continue after the much too early death of the series creator Monty Oum was something, but I still might have been aware that while things hadn't ended with the creeping feeling in the second series that the story weren't moving forward too much and the comment "that it's done at all" was starting to feel sort of inadequate in the face of the criticisms I had seen, those points were still there to start with. When the latest series led off with a "tournament," however, I did sort of have the feeling this could play to a strength. Just as in certain anime series themselves, it could be seen as a good excuse to get to the action without needing a lot of setup or serious consequences. Over the length of the nearly weekly episodes (and the episodes did seem to be getting longer, almost to the length of "regular" "half-hour" television episodes, without dragging too much), though, the perpetual ominous setup that had been kept out of sight of the main characters started to affect larger things, and this built to a pretty serious finale, one that might even have challenged the comfortable safety of the sort of "cartoons" some of those who watch anime might yet dismiss.

From where things left off, I do have the hope some things will be put back together. If everything is "put back together," that might wind up a bit less impressive than they seem as of this moment (a moment I still haven't risked against the opinions of anyone else, anyway...) Still, it was something that could yet be "living up to a legacy."
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)
People did seem to like Avatar: The Last Airbender, but when I bought its DVD sets I was also aware Dave Filoni had worked on that series before taking charge of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. More than that, hearing the series also cross-pollinated anime and "western" animation certainly didn't hurt either, even if this did continue to point out how I didn't quite seem to be watching even as many animated series done in at least some part on this side of the Pacific as I used to. It had been a while since Megas XLR, Teen Titans Go, and even The Boondocks, as varied as those experiences had been.
People also seemed to... )

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