Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2.1 billion brothers and sisters all at once... what would YOU do?


When I saw Brothers Conflict (which has the rather appropriate shorthand title BroCon), the show about a girl who suddenly finds herself with twelve stepbrothers, among the list of Summer 2013 shows, I knew I had to watch it. Even if it turned out to be incredibly stupid (which it certainly did), I knew I’d still enjoy it in its own way. After all, the show was essentially a gender-flipped version of a show that, despite not being particularly well-received among the anime fandom, remains a personal favorite of mine. That anime, in which a hapless young man finds out he has no fewer than twelve younger sisters, is none other than Sister Princess.
The series that started the imouto craze.
(Note that for this post, I will be referring entirely to the first anime series, not the original light novel-esque serialization, any of the video games, or the second "RePure" anime series.
Sister Princess was one of the first anime I watched, around the time I really started to become an anime fan; it was also the first anime DVD I ever bought, mainly because the premise seemed so off-the-wall to me that I had to see just how it’d play out. After a rough start, I ended up enjoying it a lot; the show did flirt with the “forbidden line” but never did cross it, and overall it’s still very much a show about family, and is the show that is responsible for my love of shows about family. (It, along with some other shows, is also responsible for my love of slow-paced slice-of-life shows.)
One thing that is different between this show and BroCon is that in Sister Princess, we never do learn exactly what relation the sisters are to the male lead Wataru. They’re probably not all full sisters, but we don’t know which of them are (if any), which are half-sisters, and which are adopted or step-sisters.
Or, really, if they have any legal sibling relationship to him at all.
That last possibility was one that I had thought of when doing some “wild mass guessing” on this show, which does have a small mystery element to it. That is, what if none of these girls are actually his sisters in blood, adoption, or marriage by parents, but just unrelated girls that have put it on their hearts to view and treat this guy as a brother? (This is, for the record, excluding the thirteenth “sister”, who is established as having no relation to him, that ends up as part of the sisterhood as well.)
It’s a wild theory, but it’s a theory I have for a particular reason: it is most like what happens when one becomes a Christian. Becoming a Christian—which means being adopted as one of God’s children—means gaining approximately 2.1 billion brothers and sisters from all around the world (according to the CIA World Factbook), since all fellow Christians then become our brothers and sisters in Christ. That said, there’s a much smaller subset of these siblings with whom any given Christian will likely be more familiar with than others. Still, looking at it from this perspective, suddenly finding oneself with a baker’s dozen of brothers or sisters actually does sound just a bit familiar, and while these brothers and sisters likely won’t be as affectionate as the ones in anime are, they could be very friendly simply because you are their brother or sister in Christ.
Moreover, the official tagline from ADV Films, “Twelve sisters all at once... what would YOU do?” is no longer just a weird line of advertising; it becomes a reality.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Anime Hall of Fame Induction: Princess Jellyfish

In my Anime Hall of Fame series, I highlight shows that I enjoyed a lot and think are worth trying out. Click the "stardf29's Anime Hall of Fame" tab at the top of the page to see a list of all the inducted anime series so far. More anime series will be inducted over time, and this post will be updated with any new information for this series.

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Princess Jellyfish


Official art. (The girl in front might look familiar if you watched episode 4 of Genshiken Nidaime.)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Kin'youbi Mosaic: 7/26/13 “Little Theory Busters” Edition


In this new weekly series, I simply talk about whatever random news and thoughts I feel like talking about. Don’t expect a whole lot of serious stuff here. The title is a play on the currently-airing "Kin'iro Mosaic", as "kin'youbi" means "Friday" in Japanese.

So, during my Anime Expo post, I noted that Sentai Filmworks announced the first Little Busters! set for release this November, but only on DVD, and theorized that the Blu-ray might come later to account for the delay Japanese licensors usually implement to reduce reverse importation. However, that theory got busted, as they recently announced that the Blu-ray would also be released in November; in fact, both the DVD and Blu-ray are available for pre-order already on Rightstuf.

With only a 3-month turnaround between the last Blu-ray being released in Japan and this first set, that is among the fastest turnarounds for a US Blu-ray release (excluding import releases). Other fast turnarounds include Bodacious Space Pirates (4 months) and Persona 4: The Animation (1 month); the latter suffered for it as the Blu-ray ended up being dub-only. (It is worth keeping in mind, though, that what’s being released in November is only the first 13 episodes, for which the corresponding Japanese Blu-rays finished releasing earlier.)

It is nice to see such a fast turnaround on this series, though I wouldn’t expect such things to be common.

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Discotek Media is quickly becoming one of my favorite North American anime licensors. They recently released the complete collection of Lovely Complex, a show I have wanted licensed for a long time since I first saw it back in 2007. It’s a shoujo romantic comedy about a tall girl and a short guy, and being vertically challenged myself, I could easily relate to the series. I definitely recommend checking it out.

And then, not too long ago, they also announced that they had rescued the license for the first Cardcaptor Sakura movie, and will release it on DVD and Blu-ray in 2014. Now, Cardcaptor Sakura holds the distinction of being the very first anime I watched in Japanese (with English subtitles). I had first been exposed to it thanks to the (rather butchered-up) Cardcaptors dub that aired after Pokemon way back when, and wanting to take another look at it, I stumbled upon the original series and immediately fell in love with it. It’s a show that is in many ways responsible for my interest in anime in the first place, and remains one of my favorite shows to date, so to hear that even a part of it has been licensed again made me ecstatic. I can only hope this will lead to a rescue of the second movie, or even better, the whole TV series…

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This Week's Crossover Fanart: Genshiken x Yotsuba&!

Chika&! Art by Kabaya Kousuke.


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The recent episode of Silver Spoon featured some characters as they went to a horse racetrack. Though main character Hachiken initially doesn’t see the fun in watching horses race, he eventually gets caught up in all the excitement of the race (which is different from thoroughbred racing in that these horses have to pull loaded sleds).

I have gone to the racetrack myself several times, and it is indeed a fun experience. There are two factors that are key to enjoying a horse race. The first is to be invested in a horse; this is why it’s good to bet on horses if possible, even if it’s just the minimum bet ($2 in my case). In Silver Spoon, the characters are too young to make bets (and have no one to make bets on their behalf), but they are still invested in one horse as it is one of the characters’s personal horse. The second key is to go with friends, as a lot of the fun is just in getting caught up in the whole thing with other people (which was definitely the case in Silver Spoon).

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Finally, some sad news as Ryutaro Nakamura, director of shows like Serial Experiments Lain and Kino’s Journey, passed away this Thursday from pancreatic cancer. (He was 58 at the time of his death.) Prayers go out to his family and loved ones.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer 2013: What I'm Watching (Part 2)

The second part of my Summer 2013 overview is here. Plenty of sequels are among them, so be sure to check out my Sequel Alert to see what you should watch before diving into these shows.

I must say, I am overall very pleased with this season. Sure, that might be partially because there's a lot of shows that are particularly of my taste, but even discounting all of the "same ol'" that some may complain about, there's plenty to love about this season. And if you really think this season's got nothing for you... well, Attack on Titan is still airing, right? By the way, I'm not following that one, but I do plan on marathoning the second half once all episodes have been aired.

That said, the rest of what I'm following this season is after the jump.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer 2013: What I'm Watching (Part 1)


The Summer 2013 season of anime is underway, and what a season it is! I have locked on to no fewer thaneighteen shows that I plan to follow this season—definitely the most I have ever tried to follow at once. (It helps that, because it is summer, certain non-anime shows are taking the summer off to air reruns, giving me more time for anime.) So what are the shows I am following this season? Take a look after the jump for my thoughts on these shows.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Review: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU (Oregairu)


So covering every single episode of this show ended up being too hard for me. Instead, I will use this show as my first official review with a new review format.

For more information on Oregairu, check out the ANN entry for the show.

What it’s about: Hachiman Hikigaya is fed up with his generation’s idea of “youth”, being caught up in every moment as if it could be the next big moment in their lives. Writing an essay saying that such youths should just “drop dead”, he gets sent by his teacher to the Service Club as punishment. There awaits Yukino Yukinoshita, well-known to be the school’s most beautiful girl, who has established the club to help out people with their troubles. Their first client, Yui Yuigahama, who wants help baking cookies, also joins their club as they try to help out more people. Key word: try.

Because asking a group of social misfits to solve social problems isn't exactly a recipe for guaranteed success.

Bottom Line: Oregairu has all the typical ingredients of a high school romantic comedy, except it got cooked in a broken oven, so things do not turn out quite like one would expect. The end result is far from bad, though; instead, we get a show that has refreshing moments of brutal honesty and allows its characters to develop in nice, subtle ways. Grade: A-

Full review is after the jump.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Guest Post and Other Things "Beneath the Tangles"

This is a shout-out to Beneath the Tangles, another anime blog that looks at anime from a Christian perspective. It is a great site and one of the sites that inspired me to start blogging on anime myself.

Of course, I'm also shouting out to it because I have a pair of guest posts on that site for anyone following me to check out...

Adopted, Part 1: Bunny Drop and Our Adoption as God’s Children
Adopted, Part 2: PapaKiki and an Uncomfortable Adoption

One other thing I would like to bring up is the Haibane Renmei study group that TWWK, founder and main writer of Beneath the Tangles, has formed and which I am a part of. It has been an interesting study so far, looking at the variety of Christian themes found in this anime classic. The group may be halfway through, but if you're interested, it's not too late to join in!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Anime Expo 2013 Coverage, Part 2


Time for Part 2 of my Anime Expo coverage, in which I look at the more interesting things mentioned in different panels.
JAST USA Licenses Steins;Gate Visual Novel For U.S. Release
For those of you who are fans of Steins;Gate (and considering it’s currently the #1 anime on Anime News Network, that’s probably a lot of you), JAST USA has announced that they are planning to release the visual novel on which the anime is based on in the U.S. for the PC. The release is confirmed to have the original Japanese voices. (And do not worry; it is not an ero-game, so no sex scenes.)
Crunchyroll to Be Available on PS Vita, Announces Avalanche of New Simulcast Titles
For those of you with a PS Vita, Crunchyroll will soon be available on that handheld console. They also took the time to announce a bunch of other titles they will be simulcasting this season: Makai Ouji: Devils and RealistThe Eccentric Family (Uchouten Kazoku, written by the same author behind The Tatami Galaxy), The World God Only Knows: GoddessesYamishibai: Japanese Ghost StoriesSunday Without God (Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi), WataMote – No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys Fault I’m Not Popular!, andSilver Spoon. Most of these titles already have their first episode available on Crunchyroll, so check them out if you’re interested.
On a non-AX note, they have recently announced a simulcast for Gatchaman Crowds as well.
Kodansha USA’s Attack on Titan Manga Releases to Speed Up To One Every Month
To explain the title more, previously the manga was being released at a rate of one every three months. This new release plan means fans of the manga will get their Titan fix three times as fast.
In addition, they will start offering titles on Kindle and other eBooks starting July 16th.
Funimation Details Ghost In The Shell: ARISE Import Edition Details
Aniplex of America is not the only company doing import releases now, as Funimation has joined in with the very recent Ghost In The Shell: ARISE OVA series. The release will be a subtitled-only Blu-ray including a Japanese O-card, film strip, and an English-translated art book. The release will go for a retail price of $70, and only a limited print run of 2500 copies will be offered. If none of this interests you, don’t worry; Funimation also plans to release a standard version with a dub (and likely a much cheaper price).
Other News: Funimation’s other titles announced are Hal and 009 Re:Cyborg, both films. They also will be streaming the anime adaptation of Hyperdimension Neptunia, which when added to their earlier announcement of the streaming of Danganronpa, makes two games for which NISA holds the US game license and Funimation holds the US anime streaming license.
Oh wait, did I forget to mention that…
NIS America Licenses Danganronpa Murder Mystery Visual Novel For PS Vita
There, now I mentioned it.
They also have Demon Gaze. Both games will be available early 2014.
Extra: Sentai Filmworks Announces Home Video License For Various Summer 2013 Titles
As has been the trend lately, Sentai Filmworks has taken an early stake in a number of titles that are currently airing this season (the reason for this is primarily having good working relationships with the Japanese publishers of these anime). Of the various anime airing this season, the ones Sentai Filmworks has announced licenses for are: Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East Season 2, Dog & ScissorsRozen Maiden ~ Zur├╝ckspulenFantasista DollFate/kaleid liner Prisma IllyaKinmoza! (Kiniro Mosaic), Sunday Without God, and WataMote. There will likely be more where those came from (I’d be very surprised if they don’t pick up the new season of The World God Only Knows).
Extra: Little Witch Academia Episode 2 Kickstarter Meets Goal In Less Than Five Hours
Never underestimate the passion of anime fans when it comes to throwing money at the shows they like. Time of Eve is a recent example of a very successful anime Kickstarter devoted to bringing the movie to the US, and now we have Little Witch Academia, the 30-minute OVA that has reached the US$150,000 goal of completing episode 2 in less than five hours after the campaign started early Tuesday. Studio Trigger already had the funds for creating a 20-minute episode and the Kickstarter funds will add 15 minutes to the final run time.
The campaign is still going on, so anyone who wants to donate can still do so here. It remains to be seen what kind of “stretch goals” the studio has for additional funds.
(On a personal note, I have seen the first episode. It is very well-produced overall and has a fun story with some potential to go deeper should more be made.)
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So that is all for Anime Expo. What were your favorite announcements from the convention?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Anime Expo 2013 Coverage, Part 1

July 4 - July 7. This post covers panels from the first two days.

Anime Expo is currently going on in Los Angeles, and with it, several North American anime localization companies have held panels to make new announcements and also talk about various things going on in the industry. While information on the announcements themselves are easy enough to find, there’s also various other things each company discusses in the panel that tends to slip through the cracks. In this first installment of Anime Expo panel coverage, I will talk about some of these more interesting tidbits brought up in the panels.
Note: Some info below may come from information provided immediately after the panels, through press releases or website updates.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, Ep. 13: To Be Served or to Serve


With last week’s Episode 13, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet has reached the end of its TV broadcast, and while there will be a couple of OVA episodes, this episode brings the story to a great conclusion. There are many awesome moments to be had here and it is most definitely worth seeing if you have been following the show up to now. For this post, I will be addressing something that comes up early in the episode. While nothing important in episode 13 itself will be spoiled, there are major spoilers for things revealed up to the end of episode 12 after the jump, so be warned.
Chamber, who is more awesome than you'd think. Art by 3110soti.