Thursday, October 30, 2014

Quick update

The "What I'm Watching" page has been updated with thoughts on all the shows I'm currently watching this season. I'm using a new format now, as I've gotten rid of the running scoreboard in favor of a simple tier-based ranking system.

Also, while I was thinking of writing something for the latest episode of Mushishi -The Next Passage-, Japesland over at Beneath the Tangles has written a far better post than I ever could, so this week I shall just point you over there to see what he has written about the cycles of life.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Yama no Susume Season 2: Discouragement of Climb

Some great news came out earlier today when Crunchyroll announced that they have gotten the go-ahead to simulcast the rest of Yama no Susume Second Season, a.k.a. Encouragement of Climb Season 2, and have already added all of the previous episodes as well. For anyone who has been waiting for a legal stream of those episodes, this is your chance to catch up with one of the best shows from the summer, as well as the "second part" of the YamaHanaBara story for which Hanayamata was the first part and Barakamon was the third part.

In celebration of this, expect a number of posts on recent episodes of the show, as well as continuing regular coverage of the show on this blog from here on out. This post will cover material up to and including episode 12, and will naturally contain spoilers from those episodes. If you haven't watched this show up to that point yet, go ahead and do so. Don't worry, this post isn't going anywhere. Or just hit the jump if you really don't care about watching this show, and don't care that you're missing out on one of the best shows currently airing.

You'd also be missing out on these adorable Li'l Fuji dolls, and you wouldn't want that, would you?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai, Ep. 3: Guided or Controlled

Episode 3 is a visual novel adaptation in all its glory: romcom hijinks, a bit of fanservice, and setup for character-specific plots are all in this one. They also squeezed in references to memetic music videos as a bonus.

As it turns out, in Japanese culture the fox does have its own onomatopoeia, making the song even more meaningless.
Throughout all of this, though, the mysterious Shepherd continues to direct the members of the Library Club to certain people, and then directs those people in turn to the Library Club. This, of course, brings the Library Club to start trying to find out who exactly this Shepherd is, and why they seem to be controlling them in this way...

Minor spoilers after the jump.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Industry Talk: Dub-I-Dub

Let's talk about dubs this week, specifically why some shows get dubbed while others don't. All of this should be common knowledge to longtime fans, but it's something that I want to put out for newer fans as it is important for them to know if they care about what gets dubbed or not.

Sentai Filmworks recently put out their February 2015 release slate, which includes a fairly well-known title that has been a long time coming: Space Brothers. However, this first 13-episode set of the series, and likely the rest of the 99-episode show, will not be dubbed. Meanwhile, also on the slate for that month is a re-release of Leviathan: The Last Defense, released sub-only earlier this year, but now with a dub. A number of fans have gotten quite riled up that a "crap" show like Leviathan is getting dubbed (and re-released with a dub, at that!), while a "masterpiece" show like Space Brothers gets the sub-only treatment.

So I think it's time to set some things straight. First of all, I think Leviathan is a perfectly okay show. Sure, it's exceedingly average and not something I'd consider "good" by any means, but if you're looking for a brainless, fun fantasy action show, it's perfectly fine. But that's pretty much irrelevant to all of this.

Anyway, why do some shows get dubbed while others are sub-only? Simple: dubs cost money. A lot of money, too; I don't have the exact numbers, but the numbers I've seen point to a cost of several thousand dollars per episode. Let's say it's $5,000 an episode; for a 12-episode series, that's $60,000 the show has to be able to profit in order to make up the dub cost! What this boils down to is this: a dubbed show has to sell really well.

Now, certainly, dubs increase sales. A number of anime fans are only interested in or largely prefer dubbed titles to sub-only titles, for various reasons. And anime companies wouldn't dub shows if they didn't think there was at least the possibility to bring in so much more sales with a dub that the cost of the dub is worth it (especially since dubs help improve the long-term value of a show, as well as the overall image of the company itself). However, the question comes down to this: can a show bring in enough additional sales to cover the cost of the dub?

If not, the sub-only treatment makes sense; rather than lose money on a dub, they'd rather lose some sales but still sell enough to the smaller but devoted customer base that's fine with buying sub-only shows to make a profit. And in some cases, like Leviathan, if the sub-only release turns out to sell well beyond expectations, to the point where the company can feel like a dub might be profitable, they can always go back and re-release the show with a dub.

The most important thing to remember is this: whether a show gets dubbed or not has nothing to do with how good it is. It has everything to do with how well it can sell with the crowd that primarily or exclusively buys dubbed releases. Now, there are all sorts of theories for what titles are popular with that crowd and what titles are not; generally, action-heavy shows are more likely to get dubbed, while slice-of-life shows are very likely to not be dubbed. Also, longer shows like Space Brothers are disadvantaged by the greater cost of having to dub a lot of episodes (if you thought dubbing 12 episodes was expensive, consider having to dub 99 episodes!).

The thing is to not get angry over a show you really like not getting dubbed, or a show you think is bad getting dubbed. These companies are just trying to do what makes the most business sense, and for various reasons, the shows that sell the best aren't necessarily the best-quality shows. If you really want to try to get shows you like dubbed, your best bet is to try to promote the show while it is airing and increase the streaming numbers, as those are one of the indicators companies use to determine whether a show might be popular enough to be dubbed. And sometimes, you just have to resign yourself to the fact that great shows like Non Non Biyori and Engaged to the Unidentified just will never be dubbed... at least, as an eternal fan of slice-of-life shows, that's the reality I have to live with every month...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Barakamon, Eps. 11-12: Going Home and Going Back

This post has been long overdue. Let's go straight into it.

Preferably before Seishuu's mom goes all JoJo on her son.

This post contains moderate spoilers after the jump.

3 For 3: 10/25/14 Edition

In this new weekly column, I will write three paragraphs each on three currently-airing shows. These paragraphs will cover thoughts on the show's execution as well as personal reactions, just like a standard aniblog post. Two of the three shows will consistently appear every week in a season, while a third show will be a "show of the week" that might change from week to week, depending on which show I feel like talking about that week.

Be warned that spoilers are in every show's post.  If you only want to see my comments on one particular show, click one of the links below.

Celestial Method (Sora no Method)
When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace (Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de)
Your lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fall 2014: What I'm Watching (Part 2)

Time to cover the second half of the new shows I'm following this season. It's worth noting that I have one other show under consideration: Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru; however, my impression of the first two episodes is that I'm going to need to give it the 3-episode rule. If I do decide to add it in, I'll probably do so as a Weekly Rambling.

There are a number of direct sequels in this part. In fact, so far, overall the sequels have given the strongest offerings so far, though that's not unexpected; whereas the new shows are still building their foundations and setting up for what could be strong payoffs, the sequels are building off what their initial seasons have already proven to be their strengths. So while I have a good feeling about a number of the new shows, the sequels are currently what I'm liking most. But that could very well change as the other shows develop.

Once again, here are some links to each show in this part; they will take you directly to the show in question below.

In Search of the Lost Future (Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete)
Mushishi -The Next Passage- 2 (Mushishi Zoku Shou 2)
When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace (Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de)