Archive for December, 2009

A Bit of a Change

Posted in Masturbatory Blog Crap on 12/30/2009 by Shinmaru

With a new year comes a re-evaluation of the way I do things. I’m not planning any massive overhauls, or anything, but I want to tweak my approach to writing a bit as I continue to adjust to this whole blogging thing.

I’ve been running this site for nearly five months now — in the grand scheme of things I am still a huge newbie trying to find the best way to do things for my writing style. I think episodic blogging has treated me well so far — I’ve enjoyed tackling most of the series I’ve written about week by week. For the most part I think I have done relatively well in choosing series that interest me enough to keep going back to them, and that also offer enough for me to provide a different perspective on them (most of the time) and to not repeat the same things ad nauseum in each post.

At the same time, however, episodic blogging has clear limitations, and I haven’t done myself any favors by allowing myself to be shackled a bit too easily by its restraints. I’m not going to pretend I am some brilliant literary analyst (lord knows that’s far from the truth), but there were some series I wanted to write about but never got around to doing so because . . . I dunno, I felt weird about jumping in on them in the middle of the series, I guess. Which is clearly retarded because I started this damn site by jumping in on the middle of several series.

For whatever stupid reason I fooled myself into thinking there’s something wrong with jumping into a series in the middle of it when clearly that’s stupid. If I have something interesting to write about, then nobody is really going to give a shit which episode I started from. Nobody looks at my archives at all and says, “OMG he didn’t start from the beginning when blogging the second season of Spice and Wolf, the fiend!!” and if someone does say that, then he or she is a moron.

So I want to change my approach a bit. There are series that are good enough to blog the whole way through, and I’ll certainly have my fair share of shows I blog to completion, but I don’t want to ignore those series that might take a few episodes to get a full head of steam. Sometimes I’ll jump on a few episodes in and keep going with it if a series takes the leap, and other times I’ll just highlight a particularly good episode within a series. (For example, I wasn’t at all interested in blogging Kampfer, but in this system, I almost certainly would have written about ep11, which was a hilarious trainwreck that greatly entertained me.) That approach will work especially well for comedies, I think, which come off to me as somewhat difficult to blog weekly.

I don’t want to limit this to currently airing series either; I watch a good number of series outside of current seasons, and I rarely post about them here. I want to change that, so when I come across really good episodes of series I’m watching (or maybe a good group of episodes if I want to highlight an arc I really enjoyed, or something like that), I’ll post about ‘em.

Also, I want to change up the way I approach reviews. I don’t really like writing them in a way that’s, “This is what I liked about the series, and this is what I didn’t like.” It’s boring for me to write, and because that comes across in the writing, I’m sure it’s boring for people to read as well. (Not that there aren’t good reviewers who write that way — psgels is particularly good at getting in and out with a quick opinion.) Like many people, when I get bored with writing something, I also get frustrated and lazy — my Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny review took a month for me to post, which is ridiculous. I didn’t like the series, but I wrote about it anyway because I was in my dumb “I have to write long reviews for every series I complete!!” phase, which lasted for three series.

What I want to do instead is highlight a couple of things about the series that really grabbed me (like a certain theme, or great characterization or particularly great animation or whatever), limit my thoughts to 500-700 words or so and get the hell out. Basically it’s an ego check for me, haha. Forcing myself to be concise has always worked better for me than filling a bunch of space with words, anyway.

So it goes. Any other suggestions are welcome; I’m just trying  to be as flexible as possible with what I write about.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – 38

Posted in Fullmetal Alchemist with tags on 12/30/2009 by Shinmaru

Man, I’ve been slacking off worse than usual lately. I blame it on Pokemon Platinum, which I got for Christmas. That game is too damn addicting. I’m going to need a Pokeaddicts Anonymous meeting soon . . .

In an episode with a good fight and a couple of good emotional moments, it’s absolutely amazing that Yoki of all people steals the show. But holy crap is that silent film backstory exposition of his ever hilarious. Love how completely biased it is toward Yoki (especially regarding Ed’s evil facial expressions, haha), and the use of Brotherhood‘s “Shit is going down!” music had me rolling. The appearance of Armstrong’s other family members is just the icing on the cake. It might have been a bit out of place in this episode, but I cannot in good conscience criticize something that made me laugh so much, especially since it improves Yoki’s story in such a huge way. (Frankly, I thought that episode was one of the most boring of FMA‘s original run.)

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Sasameki Koto – 12

Posted in Sasameki Koto with tags on 12/26/2009 by Shinmaru

Kind of strange for this to be the penultimate episode of the series, but it’s not bad at all — actually, it is a pretty fun watch.

In a weird way, this reminds me of a good K-On! episode (you know, when that series was fun and not repeating every story it had already used in the first half). Not too much character or plot development in this episode; instead, Murasame and her friends have a good time with a treasure hunt of sorts during a rainy day. Even though there are no big dramatics in this episode, the story, such as it is, makes me appreciate that much more the approach Sasameki Koto takes: It never allows itself to forget that these girls are in high school, and because of that, they just want to have a good time every day.

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Kimi ni Todoke – 12

Posted in Kimi ni Todoke with tags on 12/26/2009 by Shinmaru

Show of hands — who wants the show to be about Ryu now? :p

Much like last week, I found myself mainly either rolling my eyes or outright cackling at the drama. It doesn’t seem to be a popular opinion, but I agree with psgels about not really enjoying the drama in this series in general. Now, I’m not expecting Pulitzer-worthy stuff, here, but the drama and the way it progresses is so ridiculously petty. I can’t take Kurumi seriously at all because all her actions scream, “HAY LOOK I’M BEING AN EVIL JEALOUS BITCH.”

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Twelve Moments in Anime No. 1: Father and Child

Posted in 12 Moments, Clannad with tags , on 12/25/2009 by Shinmaru

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope the day treats everyone well!

So this is really the big anime moment of the year for me. I feel like I should write some big, epic post about this, but I’ll keep my ego in check and stick to the spirit of things by keeping things relatively simple. (Major, major spoilers for Clannad within. Read with caution.)

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Twelve Moments in Anime No. 2: First and Last Dance of Love

Posted in 12 Moments, Rose of Versailles with tags , on 12/25/2009 by Shinmaru

Once again I am getting to this much later than I anticipated, but as it gets closer to Christmas, things grow ever more hectic around here — especially since I had to work today and tomorrow (it’s never officially ‘tomorrow’ for me until I go to sleep and wake up). Alas. I’ll get to the final anime moment in the morning; for now, Moment No. 2. (Or No. 11 — whichever count you prefer is fine by me.)

This year I watched the amazing, beautiful and totally deserving of way more flattering adjectives series Rose of Versailles. Rose packs in more memorable moments within a few moments than many series manage to cobble together within their entire runs, so narrowing this down to one in particular that stuck out to me was a difficult task. (Hell, for a moment, I even considered writing about the show’s wonderful OP sequence!) In the end, I whittled everything down to either Oscar and Marie Antoinette’s final confrontation before the French Revolution comes to a head, or Oscar dancing with Fersen . . . and I decided to follow my heart and go with the latter, although the former is itself an intense, highly emotional moment.

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Twelve Moments in Anime No. 3: Ryuuji and Minorin Race to the Finish

Posted in 12 Moments, Toradora with tags , , on 12/23/2009 by Shinmaru

Whew, good to be caught up on these anime moments posts! Of course I still have others to write eventually such as that Monster post I missed last week for various reasons, and the “I’m going to catch up with Cross Game!” pledge that hasn’t quite caught on yet. :p I’m getting there, though. I’m getting there.

Technically the next moment I’m highlighting is not from an episode that aired in 2009; however, it did air on Christmas day of 2008, which technically places it within the time frame of “the past year”, so therefore I conclude that I can include it within this project. Plus, it’s fucking Toradora — who will complain about that?

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Twelve Moments in Anime No. 4: Spirited Away

Posted in 12 Moments, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 with tags on 12/23/2009 by Shinmaru

Sorry, no Miyazaki in this post — just a dumb Tokyo Magnitude pun!

I’m an agnostic (a pussy atheist, if you will). I do not go to church or follow any religion, nor do I really believe in anything related to that (or supernatural stuff like psychic powers and whatnot). But for whatever reason, I’ve always been fascinated by stories that tap into the spiritual world like Tokyo Magnitude does beginning with the eighth episode.

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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – 37

Posted in Fullmetal Alchemist with tags on 12/23/2009 by Shinmaru

Agh, apologies for getting to this so late — I’m still sick, unfortunately, and apparently my ‘net connection decided to get sick as a dog, as well, because it has been spotty as hell all day long. This is basically the first decent opportunity I’ve had all day to get something up on WordPress, so I’ll just throw this post up on here and double up on the anime moments posts tomorrow.

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Twelve Moments in Anime No. 5: That Silver-Tongued Count

Posted in 12 Moments, Gankutsuou with tags on 12/21/2009 by Shinmaru

I originally planned to write about something else today, but I’m sick at the moment (but not sick enough to miss work, damn it), so something a bit simpler gets pushed ahead in the queue.

It is something magical when an actor happens upon a role he or she seems to have been born to play. This is something a bit loftier than merely being good at a certain type of character (like Satsuki Yukino with feisty tsunderes, or Norio Wakamoto with intimidating, high-class SOBs); rather, it gets to the point where the performance resonates, strikes a chord with your soul and never in a million years could you imagine another person playing that character.

Jouji Nakata’s performance as The Count of Monte Cristo in Gankutsuou is like that for me.

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