Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

More manga as a Fantagraphics kickstarter stretch goal

by dm00


The Fantagraphics Kickstarter to jump-start their spring catalog has added a new stretch goal: if they reach $250,000 (by Thursday 5 December 2013), they’ll “increase our line of literary and experimental manga translation.”

(The Kickstarter page is maybe a little NSFW.)

They’ve been printing Wandering Son, works by Moto Hagio, and will be bringing out Inio Asano’s Nijigahara Holograph.

Wandering Son and Nijigahara Holograph may be pre-ordered as premiums on this Kick-starter.

Gunslinger Girl: Finale



The final volume of the Gunslinger Girl manga arrived today.

The first surprise were the words “heartwarming conclusion” in the blurb on the back cover.  The second surprise was that Yu Aida really did pull it off (perhaps the third surprise is seeing Jean finally treat Rico as decently as she has long deserved). God, I’m a softie, and I’m sure all the Kool Kids will snicker, but I found this final volume to be a fitting conclusion — the complete opposite of the carnage and mayhem of the previous volumes. Yes, it has its melancholy aspects, and many beloved characters do not survive the series, but it really does end on a note of hope as the weeks of bloody terrorism give way to a peace movement with echoes of the one that emerged in Northern Ireland, and the Social Welfare Agency takes on a new role.

This volume, called “Finale”, brings the series to a close, showing the fates of the survivors, and laying many ghosts to rest, giving each a witness to recognize their passing.
I’ll agree that the epilogue lays it on way too thick, but for Triela, I’ll forgive almost anything.
I’m so glad that Seven Seas picked this series up from ADV Manga, and saw it through to its conclusion.  In twenty years of manga reading, this series stands out in the way it breathes life into its characters as it tells their stories.


Animating tactical genius: Miho, Marika and Shinon

by dm00


I came to Girls und Panzer very late and for an odd reason — the soundtrack amused me.  I’d written the series off as moe fluff (it is that), but something about the soundtrack on top of all the enthusiasm for the series prompted me to give it a try.  I started watching the series a week or so ago, and found myself plowing through all the episodes.

Between its production values and charm, it’s no wonder so many people rated the series so highly.  I’m sure it’s been talked to death.

But I want to express my appreciation for one thing the series does that’s rarely done so successfully: we see a brilliant tactician at work.  We see Miho being brilliant, we aren’t just told how brilliant she is.  We see her scanning the landscape through her binoculars, we see staring at her knees as she mentally tabulates her resources and the resources of her opponents. We see the flash of inspiration that leads to the audacious move that carries the day.

Anime (nor any other fiction) rarely pulls this off.  After all, it takes a bit of genius to show us the work of a genius (you can borrow some of that genius though: I suspect the military otaku have dissected each of Oarai High School’s battles and found possible inspirations in the history of tank warfare for Miho’s successful maneuvers).


Fortune favors the prepared.  We rarely see genius, even less often do we see the 99% perspiration that accompanies the 1% inspiration that makes up that genius.

We see it just a bit in Girls und Panzer as Miho spends a late night contemplating the forces tomorrow’s opponent will array against her.  We saw it as Marika in Bodacious Space Pirates struggled for sleepless days to hatch a plan to take on the shocking new opponent who had appeared and was destroying her fellow pirates.


One of the best renditions of the genius-by-sweat-equity was portrayed by the character Shinon in Starship Operators.  Throughout the series we see her strategic cunning at work. Then at the end of the series, when the odds looked hopeless, Shinon spends several days in the simulator, running battle plan after battle plan, looking for one that has a prayer of keeping them alive through the coming conflict.  She emerges with a plan that uses her ship in a completely unexpected way, and they live to fight another day.

(I guess we do see a lot of the “hard work and guts” school of winning the day through sheer determination and strength of will. I’m not talking about that, here.)

Girls und Panzer does this subtly and well.  It was a joy to watch.

Book Girl and the corrupted angel

by dm00

Cover of the Yen Press edition

Book girl and the corrupted angel is volume four of the Bungaku Shoujo/Literature Girl/Book Girl series of light novels about Tohko Amano, a book-devouring demon and the author Konoha Inoue that she has enslaved
Continue reading ‘Book Girl and the corrupted angel’

Boston: Ghibli Films at MFA, starting Feb 1

by dm00

Marco-bob says "Check it out!"

Starting Feb. 1, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts will be showing new 35-mm prints of the films of Studio Ghibli (plus Nausicaa). None of the Ghibli Museum shorts, sad to say (and no Grave of the Fireflies), but the rest of the Ghibli oeuvre will be represented.

Showings will be in the new Alfond Auditorium, not the crappy, but huge, auditorium where most of the MFA’s film screenings appear to be, so it looks like the new prints of the films will have justice done to them.

Omo got to see these first but now those of us in the provinces can see them, too!

Apparently, forgetting to check the anime blog community frequently…

Also means forgetting guest posts that you write up for other blogs.

By TheBigN

I wrote a guest post over at Listless Ink which notes more openly one of those “extra” areas that gets and keeps me interested in anime – my yuri goggles. Reminds me that I probably need to do posts like this more often. Or probably just more posts (guest and otherwise) in general. I thank Yi very much for letting me post on her blog, and I hope to do it again in the future. :3

Book Girl and the Captive Fool

by dm00

Let the book fairy be your guide

This weekend I read the third Book Girl novel: Book Girl and the Captive Fool.

In this book, Tohko discovers that someone is cutting pages out of library books. This offends her (despite her own habits where books are concerned), because the person is taking some of the best parts — like taking the strawberry off the top of a cake — and leaving the rest.

She drags Konoha into an investigation, and they catch the culprit, red-handed. As penance, the culprit must take part in the play the Book Club is putting on for the cultural festival — a tale of love, friendship, and betrayal. Soon, it becomes clear that the play and the situation of some of their classmates is similar….

My gosh, these things are dark: suicide, murder, assault, childhood trauma producing warped psyches. And throughout, charming book-fairy Tohko flits among the bloodshed and misery.
Continue reading ‘Book Girl and the Captive Fool’

Cardcaptor Sakura 1&2

by dm00

Tomoyo's reaction to the sudden appearance of Kero-chan is somewhat different

I’m watching bog-standard DVDs from Pioneer (at least the first one is from Pioneer, maybe some of the later ones were from Geneon). With that, my first thought was: damn, this series looks good. Those colors, that movement, those costumes. This series is drop-dead gorgeous. I imagine it’s a treat on Blu-Ray.

This series looks gorgeous

My second thought was the realization that this was all done by hand, this is all at least borderline pre-use-of-computers in anime (1998-2000). There is a lot of strong animation here: Sakura tosses a baton in the air and we’re treated to a close up of her fingers as she catches it with a twirl; the magic circle that appears as she transforms is wreathed in smoke; the battle scenes are also very attractive and well done.

Third: this music is really good (the OP is extremely sweet, even if I can’t keep that wretched crossplay version from popping into my head from time to time). The ED I can do without.

It’s interesting to watch this series in this post-Madoka era. Kero-chan (now) reminds me of Kyuubey. Did he really ask Sakura to make a contract with him? Tomoyo –> Homura? An opening dream sequence presaging Things to Come?

Gosh, in CLAMP-world boys go through some incredible transformations between age 10 and age 16 — doubling in height, while their shoulders broaden to maybe three feet. Except Yukito. He’s pretty narrow-shouldered.

The first episode of the series establishes Sakura as a character: she’s athletic and cheerful, she tells us. A few minutes later she proves it when we see her doing a back-flip and twirling a baton in a fore-shadowing of her acrobatics while battling escaped Clow Cards.

Seconds into episode two, Sakura’s secret is accidentally revealed to her unflappable friend Tomoyo, who sees Sakura’s new Cardcaptor status as an opportunity. Later that day, she and her minions arrive with a van full of magical girl costumes. Fortune favors the prepared mind.

Tomoyo learned about Sakura's magical-girlhood that afternoon

Sakura is a wonderfully charming character: a little bratty, a little scared, but also resourceful (she captures her first card with little more than her skills with rollerblades and batons) and courageous.

There are more intelligent things being said about this series here (or will be when the site comes back up).

The Authors (with others, too.)

The Good Old Days

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