Thursday, July 27, 2006

Anime World Order Show # 29 - Better Late Than Never

Better late than never, I guess. Daryl reviews the horror anime Requiem From the Darkness, Clarissa reminisces on The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya now that it's ended, and Gerald talks about his favorite anime of all time, Gall Force.

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Introduction (0:00 - 25:10)
Gerald starts things off by making a joke about how "Ichi" is pronounced the same as "itchy" that's so subtle he didn't even know he was doing it. In the emails department, Patrick M. writes in to tell us all about the other Osamu Tezuka that was mentioned back in the Shadow Skill segment of Show # 26, the Popcorn Samurai likens Gerald to Eagle from The Muppets, Area 88 mega-fan Cloudy-Sky likens Gerald to Butthead and Stephen Hawking while expressing approval over Daryl's review of Area 88 back in Show # 4 (by the way, it's out on DVD now!), and we explain the reason why we haven't reviewed too many television series to date. Plus Keith over at Teleport City reveals an even grimmer secret about MD Geist that we neglected to reveal in our recent review. Since there's really no news this week, we close things off by mentioning that Intersound Inc, where the Harmony Gold/Streamline Pictures releases were dubbed, is going out of business and is selling off all their equipment. This leads into a brief discussion on anime dubs.

Promo: Fast Karate for the Gentleman (25:10 - 26:14)
Dave and Joel's gaming and anime podcast is one of Daryl's favorites, and it's not just because they frequently talk about how awesome Daryl is. It's because they provide him with jokes to steal. If you're going to Otakon, stop by the Artist's Alley and check them out!

Overlooked: Requiem From the Darkness (26:14 - 46:40)
In an attempt to be more contemporary, Daryl talks about this 13-episode horror-themed anime series released by Geneon about a year or two ago which absolutely nobody cared about except for about three of us over in ADTRW. He was planning to show a clip of it at Anime Festival Orlando, but ran out of panel time. Laugh to yourselves as a guy who knows nothing about art or visual aesthetics tries feebly to describe a show whose primary characteristic is the fact that it looks like nothing you've ever seen before! Sample screenshots are posted below.

Screenshots don't adequately reflect the effect that the CG and camerawork has on the show, but there's quite a bit of that too. After this segment had finished recording, Gerald mentioned how he thought the style of this show was just too confusing to follow what was happening. He should have mentioned it while the recorder was on!

Review: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (46:40 - 1:05:11)
Clarissa trumps all of us in attempting to review something recent for a change by tackling what was the most popular anime series in Japan last season. We weren't sure whether to bother with it since everywhere you go there's people who won't shut up about this series, but apparently people want to hear our thoughts. This one was pretty tough to review, since roughly 15 minutes were excised from this segment for the sake of removing spoilers.

Promo: Popcorn Samurai (1:05:11 - 1:06:39)
Here's a brand-new podcast that just started up which is all about samurai movies! In the first episode, he talks about Seven Samurai and starts off the first part of what will be an extensive piece dedicated to the Zatoichi films. Hmm, now that we've got a podcast all about chambara, I wonder if there's anything out there dedicated entirely to 70s Shaw Brothers kung fu pictures? Could this be a job for Jules Carrozza aka "Kojiro Abe"?! Note to self: get the Celestial remastered version of Heroes of the East.

Review: Gall Force (1:06:39 - 1:25:25)
Gerald reviews what is his favorite anime ever, the OAV series Gall Force. Despite being OAVs, Gall Force is not his favorite OAV series--Gunbuster is--and by his own admission, Gall Force is not the best anime ever made. This also ended up being a really long segment: for time constraints, all instances of screaming about how awesome laser beams that fire out in one direction then change direction are have been removed. That alone probably took up ten minutes.

Closing (1:25:25 - 1:30:05)
It's 1:30 AM as I write this, and the gist of the matter is that we were all occupied with getting ready for our panels at Anime Festival Orlando this weekend. I had 24 hours to compile, capture, then author a DVD containing two hours of assorted video clips. Did I mention I didn't actually know how to not suck at authoring DVDs? It took me 3 days to put together a DVD that ended up being about 30 minutes. It's not the DVD layouts and menus that'll kill you, it's encoding/converting everything over to MPEG-2. Gerald and Clarissa had similar obligations, and on top of that both of them are experiencing grievous computer hardware troubles.

So basically, that's why Show # 29 was late. Actually, this is all a lie; all of the segments were complete days ago with the exception of the Gall Force review and the closing. Anyway, next time on AWO, it's one of two things. Either we're fast-tracking our Anime Festival Orlando coverage--probably no TRUTH report this time around since Daryl ended up becoming part of it--or we're reviewing the things we mentioned in the show. Daryl's going to be talking about another Geneon series which nobody bought, New Getter Robo. People clearly mistakenly thought it was about robots when it is really about KARATE. Another fine offering from Go Nagai and Ken Ishikawa. In stark contrast to that, Clarissa's going to review the manga Antique Bakery, and Gerald's going to review the limited edition box set of Patlabor the Movie 2, which is one of our favorite films.


69 comments:

Dave Riley said...

This spurious post offends me.

I demand more cartoon babble.

FORTHWITH!

Eeeper said...

I understand about your enocde probs. I tried to re-encode a half hour programme to DVD after recording in MPEG. Nero spent five minutes compiling it, hiccuped, coughed then died. Oh this was after it spent two hours working on the file. No rush for the new show.tenj

Jeff Tatarek said...

YOU SUCK, SURAT.

Just kidding--I've definitely been there when it comes to the DVD authoring crunch. Good luck getting it all together with that, and with all of the crew's panels!

Gerald said...

Nothing like having my brand new computer start to clunk out on me, which may or may not be due to a minor issue, and my backup which was sort of in the range of dying, actually die on me. My luck with computers is not very good to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the panels, is there any chance of us poor idiots who cannot go/ are in the wrong damn country can see what you guys put together? Like a torrent or something?
If not, I just hope you manage to get it done as problem free as possible. Last time I tried to author a dvd my PC died in a painful way and erased all the work thus far on it.
-Ell

The Last Otaku said...

Encoding is a bitch.

Young Freud said...

First Anime Jump goes down, now AWO is delayed indefinitely.

It's the Anime-pocaylpse, I tells ya.

Erwin Rosales said...

Yeah, it is true encoding sucks :D
Anyhow Good luck

Anonymous said...

*points to my dilznik*

Apreche said...

If you ran Linux you wouldn't have computer troubles and you would be able to edit the podcast and author the DVDs faster.

Gooberzilla said...

Yes, but if they had Linux, they'd loose quarts of blood from banging their heads on the keyboards in frustration. It'd be hard to do those panels with their heads swathed in bandages.

Christian Daly said...

Animejump is up, but you need to clear your cookie out and log in without the 'remember me' option on. Something's screwy and Mike's on it.

kolibri said...

Ha, if you had a Mac you wouldn't have any computer problems, DVD authoring ones or otherwise. I know I'm not exactly helping, but I thought I'd share my obsession with you.

Zero-chan said...

ATTACK OF THE OS ZEALOTS

christian daly said...

If you were using a Commodore 64, you would have to worry about authoring DVDs because you just couldn't. The same holds true if you were trying to record and edit your podcast on an electric can opener. True story.

Anonymous said...

If you were using an amiga... oh wait, that horse is dead and beaten now.
-Ell

alexander strange said...

Well, just in case you were afraid nobody would do it, I bought MD Geist from the secondhand bookstore. The Director's Cut!

Also, two VHS tapes which say "Robo Formers" on them but are clearly Getter Robo G. I'll have to figure out a way to donate them to the forgotten dubs collection, since Space Hitler can only improve it.

The Last Otaku said...

I finally bought Giant Robo today (had to go to like all the local Best Buys and video stores around to find it). I have to say that it is indeed freakin awesome and so is the music. And SUCH AN AMAZING PRICE POINT (19 dollars). No one should not buy this. And its like 4 dvds.

Hiro Yui said...

I too ordered Giant Robo based upon the recommendation from AWO. Haven’t received it as yet, even though I ordered over a month ago from the U.S. It better be as good as Lucy Lu dipped in honey.

Take care,

Keith said...

Roboformers -- ahh, the old $1 VHS from Wal-Mart, direct ancestor to the $1 DVDs they have now.

Speaking of which -- y'all should do a whole show of nothing but anime from the $1 Wal-Mart DVD bin. I know technically most of those shows were drawn in Korea, but come on! When Mazinger fights TRON or people get shrunk down and travel inside another person's body, which is full of planets and microscopic giant robots (what is the proper term for a microscopic giant robot?) -- that's high goddamned art right there, and worthy of the attention of anyone.

As for your DVD and audio encoding woes -- that's all sorcery and witchcraft anyway. You shouldn't dabble in it. If a room full of testy monks writing things out with quill and ink is good enough for The Bible, then it's good enough for me!

Daryl Surat said...

I've just uploaded the latest episode. I've also just changed the feed from a RSS file to an XML one since my evaluation period of Tristana Writer 4 has expired, so now I'm using the less capable but free Feedspring. Let me know if anything goes wonky.

We were only planning to have one one-week break just for Otakon, but we inadvertently had one for AFO as well. Perhaps in the meantime, in lieu of a show proper, I could post a bonus unedited raw copy of one of our previously completed segments so that everyone can realize what terrible speakers we are and how much fixing needs to be done per episode. :)

Anonymous said...

*points to my previous post about pointing to my dilznik*

Chris Sobieniak said...

Being reminded that Intersound also worked on dubs for a Spanish company that had two shows animated in Japan called "Dogtanian & The Three Muskehounds" and "Around the World with Willy Fog". Both shows had English dubs produced at Intersound, yet they were never aired in the US outside of a remote number of video tapes and airings on the BBC over in the UK.

Chris Sobieniak said...

I miss "The Maxx". (thankfully haven't taped those episodes when they originally aired)

Speaking of MTV, they're having their silver anniversary today, yet hardly a peep they're making of it apparently (because they suck). I'm celebrating with breaking out my old pre-1985 recordings of MTV for posterity.

Gerald said...

Being reminded that Intersound also worked on dubs for a Spanish company that had two shows animated in Japan called "Dogtanian & The Three Muskehounds" and "Around the World with Willy Fog".

I always found it strange how certain things hit off in some countries and are basically unknown in others. I mean, Willy Fog was a pretty big show in the UK and in most English speaking countries outside of the US. And of course it was due to Cam Clarke's amazing French accent!

Brack said...

As someone from the UK who grew up when Dogtanian & Willy Fog were first broadcast here, I wonder if it's something to do with an existing familiarity with what they are based on.

Also, there was a trend in UK from the 70s through to the early 80s to show very long running, dubbed, drama serials for kids. Heidi being the most famous. It seemed a natural progression to then move to animated shows with a similar format like the above mentioned (along with MCOG and to a lesser extent, Ulysses 31).

Of course all this TV watching as a kid has now addled my brain to the point where I am sure I've seen the anime versions of Heidi and Belle & Sebastian, despite all evidence suggesting that I couldn't have.

Anonymous said...

(Steve)

notes on AWO 29

That first email, Patrick something. While I admire his passion, I do have to school a little. I am shocked, shocked that he would not even know how everything he likes owes its life to the market created by Space Battleship Yamato.

While there have always been singles (vinyl 45s, old school) of the songs of various shows, and the occasional 'drama record' where they take an episode, or a part of an episode and lay the dialog, music and effects tracks with narration to tell of the missing visuals, it wasn't until 1977 and the release of Symphonic Suite Yamato that releasing LPs of the actual background music became a major source of licensed income.

But Yamato did more than that. Nishizaki pioneered the idea that you can merchandise a show that is NOT CURRENT, that you can constantly release stuff and keep it alive long past the normal "it's new, now it's done so it no longer exists" cycle. Releasing 'drama albums' of each new movie, and the then-mind blowing 13 LP complete first series drama album set (remember, this was before the mass use of the VCR), many many song singles (both used in the shows and image songs) and all sorts of unusual variations- such as children's choral suites, piano suites, renditions of the music via synth and violin and guitar....all in all, between 1977 and 1983, Yamato generated something like 35 LPs, and I can't even remember how many 45s and EPs and flexi-disc releases.

Clearly, there are shows that have gone past that today, Gundam having cranked out a lot of stuff for example, most shows lately seeming to give EVERY voice actor a crack at a 'character song' single so even a 13 episode show can suddenly have a dozen CDs you need to get to be complete, but Yamato did it first and best. RESPECT THE NISHIZAKI!

On Intersound:

Remember, Harmony Gold is not so much about bringing stuff to the US as they are taking US shows and selling them overseas, generally to Europe and often various Arab nations. Intersound was doing a lot of work dubbing crappy US direct-to-video stuff for those markets.

Nice job on the reviews as always, listening to Clarissa's slightly befuddled confusion over liking that show was grand!

Couple things on Gall Force: It was *not* meant to be a series, it was a one-shot. Sales were such that making more was done from a purely moneymaking point of view.

The Model Grafix Star Front Gal Force fumetti were not garage kits, or maybe better phrased they WERE g-kits hand made for the photo shoots. Everything was custom made for the photostories.

Gall Force is somewhat interesting, as it comes across as a fusion of the old school Artmic (vice Studio Nue vice Submarine) folks and the up and coming General Products/Gainax people. And I think we can blame Sonoda for today's anime deconstruction, where you remove the usually male 'support cast' and fill the screen with cute girls, often as broad stroke one-note visual stereotypes. This is the cute but clumsy one, this is the tough one, this is the soulful sensitive one, this is the brainy one...

I do like, however, that in his design sheets, Sonoda spent just as much time figuring out EACH AND EVERY girl's underwear as he did picking out their special guns...

Tohoscope said...

The VHS tape. Encodes with the push of the record button...

How was BAD ANIME WITH A VENGEANCE anyways?
-d!

Eeeper said...

Gall Force was one of my first anime VHS purchases but no one carried anything past volume one of new Gall Force so I might have to order the entire boxset. Oh by the way, Surat, I've ordered the Giant Robo brick and I'll let you guys know how I got on with it on my next show.

Scott Rubin said...

Gerald, you are totally the eagle.

kolibri said...

Good review of Haruhi Suzumiya, Clarissa. I agree - it's a really difficult show to review but you had a good balance between spoilers and teasers. Personally I'm really happy that I watched it without any spoilers just based on a firm recommendation - that took me through the first three episodes that didn't really appeal to me. But on the other hand to really tempt viewers you kinda have to spoil it. What comes to Mikuru I totally know where you're coming from - I spent most of the series trying to figure out if she was a total parody character or not... she's the kinda character that I would normally totally despise, but I actually ended up liking her.

Chris Sobieniak said...

Gerald said...
I always found it strange how certain things hit off in some countries and are basically unknown in others. I mean, Willy Fog was a pretty big show in the UK and in most English speaking countries outside of the US. And of course it was due to Cam Clarke's amazing French accent!

I thought he was perfect for the part. I just think hardly anyone in the US was interested in picking up that series, though I saw potential in it fitting in on Nickeloden next to Danger Mouse and MCoG.

Brack said...
Also, there was a trend in UK from the 70s through to the early 80s to show very long running, dubbed, drama serials for kids. Heidi being the most famous. It seemed a natural progression to then move to animated shows with a similar format like the above mentioned (along with MCOG and to a lesser extent, Ulysses 31).

Sounds possible to me, moreso perhaps to a few that twikled in the US like MCoG (Ulysses 31 rather got shafted to a syndicated block where only 13 episodes were ever aired in the US), which found their home mostly via cable in the US than terrestrial airwaves (PBS would've been a good home for it I felt if they bothered picking up stuff like that than producing their own toon crap in later decades).

Of course all this TV watching as a kid has now addled my brain to the point where I am sure I've seen the anime versions of Heidi and Belle & Sebastian, despite all evidence suggesting that I couldn't have.

The anime version of "Belle & Sebastian" supposibly got aired on the BBC in the late 80's, though it was seen in the US on Nick throughout the mid-late 80's. That was one show I had to devote a half-hour of my time to watch every episode when I was 7! Somehow I was attached a little more to that than mose cartoons at the time, yet I hardly noticed it was a Japanese cartoon at all.

Someone at a bit torrent tracker I belong to has started uploading English-dubbed episodes of Belle & Sebastian I've been picking up for old time sake. It sounds like the guy whose uploading it has the entire show so it's nice to know someone managed to make a copy of this (albeit, the episodes got a timeclock on the top-left side of the screen, much like what most Japanese TV stations like to do in the morning hours, and I'm not sure where they might've been broadcasted on).

Gerald said...

Someone at a bit torrent tracker I belong to has started uploading English-dubbed episodes of Belle & Sebastian I've been picking up for old time sake. It sounds like the guy whose uploading it has the entire show so it's nice to know someone managed to make a copy of this (albeit, the episodes got a timeclock on the top-left side of the screen, much like what most Japanese TV stations like to do in the morning hours, and I'm not sure where they might've been broadcasted on).

I would be very interested to know what this tracker is and if it's possible to register for it. Very often Belle & Sebastian are mentioned in the same voice as MCoG and while I religiously watched MCoG and have the whole show now via bittorrent, complete with documentaries, Belle & Sebastian completely missed me. In fact I'm not sure I saw even one episode of it or even an advertisement so I'm very curious to see this show and if, in fact, I ever did watch it and blocked it from my mind.

Ginrai said...

Oh hell yes, hook me up with the Belle & Sebastian torrents, too!

Chris Sobieniak said...

Gerald said...
I would be very interested to know what this tracker is and if it's possible to register for it. Very often Belle & Sebastian are mentioned in the same voice as MCoG and while I religiously watched MCoG and have the whole show now via bittorrent, complete with documentaries,

That's cool. I think Sebastian in this series was voiced by Adrian Knight according to Anime News Network, and the studio responsible for the show was M.K. Company, who I think also worked on MCoG (though Studio Pierrot is often credited for the animation), and the Lensman movie/TV series that followed. Their work on this show is rather very Nippon Animation-like, as they had a few guys who worked previously with Nippon on this and other M.K. productions at the time.

Belle & Sebastian completely missed me. In fact I'm not sure I saw even one episode of it or even an advertisement so I'm very curious to see this show and if, in fact, I ever did watch it and blocked it from my mind.

That could be it if ever. I almost forgot about this how until I started going online and finding out others remembered the kind of stuff Nick used to show in the 80's that barely get recognized much anymore or there's some recollections thereof.

Anyway, I found the episodes here...
http://www.demonoid.com/

The torrents themselves can be downloaded here...
pt. 1 (#1-8):
http://www.demonoid.com/files/details/411606/2498952/
pt. 2 (#9-17):
http://www.demonoid.com/files/details/399198/3331936/
pt. 3 (18-26):
http://www.demonoid.com/files/details/411995/2082460/

Supposibly a total of six volumes are to be released here if all goes well, though this guy's first torrent was rather screwed up so he had to send up a fixed torrent that cleared out the problems with had with downloading that last 0.01%

The Moogle Master said...

Is Gall Force still in print?

Gerald said...

The Moogle Master said...

Is Gall Force still in print?


As far as I can tell, the DVDs are widely available so it's not a very hard show find.

Erwin Rosales said...

Well my review of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is that ... it is like a mixture of The X-files and Evangelion in less than 24 episodes.

Richard Dun and Mario Dun said...

Giant Robo is indeed very awesome. It has the best english dubs of any anime.

And Darryl was right about Hundred Stories Monagatori. If you like to draw or animate, sure, go get it. If not, i dont think anyone will like it. I dont know if its the paint by numbers feel of the subject material or the slow pan of the director's camera.

NEW GETTER ROBO WOOT! Except for the ending.

Winter said...

I suppose I will, at one point, have to watch Haruhi Suzumiya if I want to know what the fuss is all about. I don't know, I've heard the arguments in its favor from multiple people, but damn if it doesn't continue to look like a harem show with maybe a scrap more meat to it.

I think Clarissa did a much better job than most of making the story sound interesting, and theoretically this show would be (mostly) up my alley, but I remain a little gun-shy because, well, it seems to have all the earmarks of a quasi-harem schoolgirl comedy, and I've had a bellyful of those. It's getting to the point where the mere sight of an anime schoolgirl is off-putting.

I guess it's a similar case to how people keep telling me Elfen Lied has this, this, and that, but every time I see the artwork or the promos, it looks like pure fetishized violence -- an excuse to cut up girls and stare at the severed muscluar tissue. Or alternately, watching the autistic moe girl piss on the floor. Maybe there's a good show in there somewhere, I wouldn't know, but it doesn't really leave the best of impressions.

But enough of my preconceived notions.

****

I remember seeing Gall Force: Eternal Story back in the salad days of the Sci-Fi Saturday Anime. After it was over, only one thought came to mind:

"Well, that was...something."

I don't remember especially liking it or disliking it; I just remember being a little perplexed by it all. It was certainly the most bizarre anime I'd seen at that point; those were more innocent times. But I do remember hitting the Mute button a few times, so I most likely missed a few key lines of dialogue. That was actually fairly common practice for me; some of those dubs were bad enough that I was embarrassed to be caught listening to them. People in other parts of the house would walk into the room asking "what on Earth are you watching?"

I suppose I'll have to watch it over again at some point, if only to resolve what the heck that ending was all about. Preferably with a language track that doesn't cause massive haemhorraging of the eardrums.

Sub said...

Are you guys running any panels at Otakon? Will Daryl be searching for TRUTH? Did I not post that thing I wrote about how the "English (Children)" subtitle track on MD Geist is actually the hysterical commentary by Ohata himself (and also his writer! see? it's already funny!) in which they point out everything wrong with MD Geist and then say "oh well"? I COULD HAVE SWORN I DID

Gerald said...

I remember seeing Gall Force: Eternal Story back in the salad days of the Sci-Fi Saturday Anime. After it was over, only one thought came to mind:

Gall Force was sort of notorious for being hacked to bits on Saturday anime. I never watched it myself since I'd seen it so many times already and wasn't interested in seeing a substandard dub, but I heard from others that there was an abnormal amount cut out of it. I know we addressed this in the review, but for time constraints it was cut out.

Sub said...
Are you guys running any panels at Otakon? Will Daryl be searching for TRUTH?


Well, as far as I know, we're not part of any panels, at least we haven't prepared for any. I won't speak for Daryl and THE TRUTH, but the crazies at Otakon outweigh any other on the East Coast so it would be foolish not to look for a bit of truth :).

As for the subs thing: I was ripping a scene in Project Ako to use on the panel at AFO and I also found that it had a segment of "Subs for children", which are commentary by Yuji Moriyama. While no where near as severe as MD Geist, I would have thought that CPM could have used a different name when naming their commentary tracks.

winter said...

Gall Force was sort of notorious for being hacked to bits on Saturday anime. I never watched it myself since I'd seen it so many times already and wasn't interested in seeing a substandard dub, but I heard from others that there was an abnormal amount cut out of it. I know we addressed this in the review, but for time constraints it was cut out.

Hmmm, that a fact? That might also explain my experience with the show. I don't know what, how much, or how little was cut from the show, but it certanly felt like something or other was missing. It might have been cut, or I just flat missed it.

Clarissa said...

I'm glad the Haruhi review came across well, I was really worried about that one.

As for Mikuru, I didn't mind her at first when it was first introduced as a parody element, but then she was just in *so much* of the show that it started to grate on me. I did, however, like what we see of her older self okay, and kind of wish that we could see her more often with that maturity level.

Haruhi *does* suffer somewhat from falling too much into the moe schoolgirl type of thing. Luckily I think Haruhi is a bit too strange to get all that moe, though from what I hear they've downplayed her psychotic personality somewhat from the novels into a bit more standard tsundere type character.

Also, I still don't quite know if I'm offended by the 'ending' or not. Hmmm.

Erwin, I think the X-Files meets Eva is a rather apt description.

Randomly, I am totally overjoyed that the school play being performed in one episode was "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" which is one of my most favorite plays. And is, really, perfect for the show.

Anonymous said...

About Strange epidsode order of Haruhi

http://d.hatena.ne.jp/moonphase/20060529
http://wiki.livedoor.jp/organ18/d/%B4%C6%C6%C4%A5%B3%A5%E1%A5%F3%A5%C8%BD%B8

According to ULRs on the above, episodes were orderd strangely in purpose by director.

"Since the original novel series is ordered un-chronologicaly, I assumed that we can try un-chronological order in Anime series. Moreover, for me, finalizing Anime series by the episode (13th amine episode) seemed elegant. However, DVD episodes are ordered chronologically, exept mikuru's adveneture(the 1st anime episode)"

For me, as a Japanese viewer, many viewers approved production's grate job on artwork, such as ending song or episode of school festival.

Gooberzilla said...

X-files meets Eva? Pass. I've had my fill of teenage-oriented anime series that go all angsty and existential by the end. Plus, the general vibe I get is that the ending leaves people feeling ambivalent, and I don't much care for that.

I'm surprised Gerald didn't mention any of the music in Gall Force. Although I don't much care for Destruction itself, I think the ending theme, "Cosmic Child", is absolutely beautiful.

alexander strange said...

> X-files meets Eva? Pass. I've had my fill of teenage-oriented anime series that go all angsty and existential by the end.

You are taking entirely the wrong parts of Eva there; it doesn't do that at all.

The Moogle Master said...

Why do my E-mails keep fucking bounceing

Bob Savage said...

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and why it is, indeed a great show.

First up, the first episode (0): This episode is a "special effects" show (Daryl knows the real word). Even though this is indeed an anime, the conceit is that in their world they are live actors. All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku (TV) had an episode where they made one of these movies for thier cultural festival as well.

This is my favorite episode. It blows my mind that they would do something as daring as using this as the first episode of the show. When this is first seen, you don't know who these people are, or what the show is about, and this episode cleverly doesn't tell you! Not only that, but the apparent main character (from this episode) turns out to be a minor character, AND the series title character doesn't appear (except briefly, with her back to the camera). And even the character identified by Clarissa as the main character of the series is here only a voice-over narrator (whose comments serve to undercut what we are seeing as much as explain it).

Second, and perhaps more important, this show has some GREAT animation. I do consider the quality of the art work as a major factor in deciding whether a show is great or not, and this one is GREAT. Look at the dance moves in the ending credits. I doubt there is another anime that has as well realized dance moves. Another example, from my favorite episode (0), the camera work in the Mikuru-chan movie: Yes it seems like bad camera work at first, but hey! there was no camera! There was a phenomenal amount of effort that was put into making it look convincing as bad camera work. Another example from the same episode: at one point Mikuru is seen running (in bunny girl outfit) along a street in the marketplace. She runs right to left across a single camera shot (pan left). This happens again twice more. The background is the same each time, which is a typical anime, cheap out on the animation, move, as you only have to pay for the background once, but in this case, the background does change (meaning someone had to reanimate it) as the people in the market place start wondering why a bunny girl keeps running by, so they turn around and stare at her.

Final comment: Haruhi is Tomo, from Azumanga Daioh, in an alternate time-line.

Anonymous said...

"Also, I still don't quite know if I'm offended by the 'ending' or not. Hmmm."

Can I ask why this is? Is it because of the "taming of the shrew" kind of thing?

I got the impression that most people saw the ending as a big triumph that did much to redeem the wooooaaaahhhh so wackyyyyy episode order.

Saisei Koichi said...

A little more information on Kyokoku Natsuhiko. His real name is Oe Katsuhiko, and he has been writing for a little over ten years now (the first book was apparently published in 1994). In addition to being a writer (all horror based), he is literally a yokai (spirit) expert. He seems to be well respected in the Japanese horror/folklore communities and has done commentary for other Japanese horror movies on DVD. There have been several live action adaptations of his work. The few pieces of artwork I’ve seen of his are similar to that in the anime. You are right, Daryl, each book is of his books are over 1000 pages long. I believe the only ones that deal with the Mataichi group are the last two books (2001 and 2004). From my understanding, it is still ongoing.

Kosetsu Hyaku Monogatari was a big budget work from what I could tell. The main actors are all highly regarded with a lot of experience. One of the script writers did the screen plays for the Ringu, the other brought us the scripts of Cowboy Bebop and Kino’s Journey. The woman who did the opening and closing themes has been consistently voted the best Japanese jazz singer by the international jazz community.

From what I can tell, the series did horribly in Japan (there seems to be more western fans of this show). The broadcaster really doesn’t have a history of much anime at all, so that may have been part of the problem. Since horror in Japan is almost strictly live action, horror buffs may not have bothered. Most of those outside of Japan that were/are interested in this anime tend to be more fans of Japanese culture than just anime.

Sadly, I think this series just suffers from bad timing. The fact that a lot of anime now have to fall into the “otaku/moe culture” means that it’s hard to market and make anime for a different audience. Meanwhile, here in the U.S. anime isn’t seen as marketable or profit making as it was before, which makes it harder for stuff to be shown on television.

Something tells me that the name change was all Geneon. When I asked someone to come watch it with me, the first question was “Is there 100 episodes?” I figure they changed the name to avoid confusion.

There is a new anime coming out in Japan in a few days which looks looks similar in style called Kemonozume Sakaba/Kemonojime. It’s done by the same guy who did Cat Soup. There is another anime that was released this year called Ayakashi Japanese Horror Classic which is only 11 episodes and seems to be a collection of different short stories. The group that subbed it even has linear notes you can download from the site. I haven’t checked the show out yet.

As far as The Melancholy of Suzumiya (another show I need to watch), from my understanding the episodes were shown out of order from the book. If you want to watch the episodes in order here is a list:

1. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya I (episode #2)
2. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya II (episode #3)
3. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya III (episode #5)
4. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya IV (episode #10)
5. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya V (episode #13)
6. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya VI (episode #14)
7. The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya (episode #4)
8. Mysterique Sign (episode #7)
9. Remote Island Syndrome (part 1) (episode #6)
10. Remote Island Syndrome (part 2) (episode #8)
11. Mikuru Asahina's Adventure (episode #1)
12. Live A Live (episode #12)
13. The Day of Sagittarius (episode #11)
14. Someday in the Rain (episode #9)

The reason why they were changed was because the ending wouldn’t have packed a good punch in the amount of episodes they were allocated.

There is also an anime called Ray The Animation based on the manga, both of which take place in the Black Jack universe. The anime is only 13 episodes long and hasn’t really gotten any attention. I'm interesting in what Clarissa thinks about it and whether it's any good.

Thanks for the links on Belle and Sebastian. They were being shown here in the U.S. around the time I was born (late 84), so I completely missed out on it. I’m going to wait until all of it is uploaded.

Clarissa said...

Can I ask why this is? Is it because of the "taming of the shrew" kind of thing?

That's sort of it. It's one of those things that doesn't necessarily bother me so much as an individual case but as part of the larger pattern of how female characters in Japanese media are treated/approached. When it's happening next to the mass of terrible annoying female characters that can't do anything and exist only as extensions of men, I guess an ending like Haruhi's--look, all she really needed was Kyon!--tweaks me a bit more. Should I take it as a matter of these two specific characters relating to one another, or is it yet another message that "all she really needed was a man?"

However, looking back at the chronological order for the episodes and seeing Haruhi's behavior and her relationship with Kyon after what we see as the ending, I think it's really not so bad as all that. But with the order they choose, putting that as the closer, it kind of leans heavier that way.

And heck, the 'ending' was certainly epic and gorgeous in a way that I loved. Maybe cliche, but I loved Kyon's communication with Itsuki and Nagato there. Also, the animation sequences of the Blue Giants are *fantastic.*

I really should have talked more about the animation. It really is excellent, the show looks wonderful.

(And yes, the Haruhi dance is great.)

Clarissa said...

There is also an anime called Ray The Animation based on the manga, both of which take place in the Black Jack universe.

Haha, actually I haven't watched this at all. I kind of went "ooh, Black Jack" but then it seemed like he was only a brief cameo so I passed it over.

But I think that's a good idea for a watch and review while I try to figure out a way to possibly tackle Black Jack for this podcast (without doing silly things like spending an entire hour just babbling about Dr. Kiriko). I'll snag the episodes and give it a shot.

Keith said...

You're right -- you should pick up the remastered "Heroes of the East."

But really, "Buddha's Palm" is where the madness dwells. The villain in it has a leg that extends out a hundred feet, and foor grows to gigantic size when he kicks people. Plus, the hero can shoot swastika beams.

Anonymous said...

Should I take it as a matter of these two specific characters relating to one another, or is it yet another message that "all she really needed was a man?"

This might just be the time and place I'm approaching it from. But when reading comments about the show on forums like ADTRW, it seems that Kyon is a big favourite amongst people there (mostly young males). And this isn't because he's strong or clever or badass or anything, it's because he's so normal. At times cowardly, perverted, deceptive, but not overly spineless like so many characters masquerading as the "everyman" are.

And it might be rather arbitrary but I think it's neat that Haruhi, who is most bored by anything that could be considered normal, falls for the most down to earth guy out there. I don't think the normality of Kyon means that any guy would've been acceptable, as she regards men as a species as being on the level of vegetables. I guess it's paradoxical in that Kyon is special for being so plain. The last episode kind of tackles this when Kyon questions whether he is actually normal, and the answer from one of his friends seems to be that he isn't. Because of his association with Haruhi and company.

But yeah, I can probably see your point and this would be the only anime series I would defend against charges of all the women being playthings for the men. And even then, not to the death.

Bob Savage said...

On the "ending" of Haruhi (**possible spoilers**):

If you watch the series in what I guess we are calling "chronological" order, the climax of the romantic story comes towards the end of the first half of the series (as mentioned, episode 6 of 14). Delaying Kyon's "confession" to the end, seems to maintain the the sexual tension over the course of the series. The chronological final episode shows Haruhi in total control of the relationship.

BTW, episode "00" maps out the entire storyline in a metaphorical way, with all of the characters jumbled ("He, no, in this scene it would be me..."). There is also a lot of dialog that is in that episode that gets used at some point in the series.

I have a hard time believing that the anime at least wasn't written specifically for the order it was broadcast in. If the anime producers altered the order from the book, they did it in a very clever way; there was far more involved than shuffling the order of the episodes around.

In my opinion, the "broadcast" order doesn't make or break the experience of watching the show, although it does guarantee a higher rate of WTF? moments (especially broadcast episode 4), but it DOES add to the "replay value" of the show. The show is different the second time around, because you have the background information.

Cheers, all.

Chris Sobieniak said...

Clarissa explains:
However, looking back at the chronological order for the episodes and seeing Haruhi's behavior and her relationship with Kyon after what we see as the ending, I think it's really not so bad as all that. But with the order they choose, putting that as the closer, it kind of leans heavier that way.

That's how I felt about it as well. Watching the series in chronological order, the second arc after the first six episodes ame off more like filler to me, or more of something along the lines of "Hey, we've already established the characters long enough, let's go have fun with 'em!" So you have episodes where they're doing things like playing baseball, or solving a mystery on an island, to making a movie and performing a concert and so forth.

And heck, the 'ending' was certainly epic and gorgeous in a way that I loved. Maybe cliche, but I loved Kyon's communication with Itsuki and Nagato there. Also, the animation sequences of the Blue Giants are *fantastic.*

It was a cool ending I thought too. If this had been more an OAV of just those 6 episodes, it would've worked out effectively I thought (back when OAVs were still big business).

I really should have talked more about the animation. It really is excellent, the show looks wonderful.

It's got some fine points for that.

Chris Sobieniak said...

Bob Savage said...
In my opinion, the "broadcast" order doesn't make or break the experience of watching the show, although it does guarantee a higher rate of WTF? moments (especially broadcast episode 4),

It was one of those that threw me in for a loop. We just find out what Nagato was in the 3rd episode, now it's a baseball game out of nowhere before we get back to where we left off in the 5th episode.

but it DOES add to the "replay value" of the show. The show is different the second time around, because you have the background information.

Cheers, all.


I felt that way about this as well, once you watch watch it all the way through, it's no biggie. Now I'm having some high hopes of it getting licensed soon (seems like it's up ADV's alley if they don't screw it up).

The Last Otaku said...

Oh if you didnt know, AnimePulse did a review of Odin. I dont like to say bad things about podcasts but, the review was bad, just bad. They didnt really rip the film apart either. There were ALOT of "um"s. All they did was TRY to tell you what the film was about. I dont reccomend you listen to the review. Just listen to AWO's review, because it had alot more background info, and just more info in general, and at least AWO ripped it apart.

Bob Savage said...

Chris Sobieniak said:

We just find out what Nagato was in the 3rd episode, now it's a baseball game out of nowhere

AND there is a guy who we have never been introduced to, who is now a regular member of the team! I had to laugh watching that.

Chris Sobieniak said...

Bob Savage said...
AND there is a guy who we have never been introduced to, who is now a regular member of the team! I had to laugh watching that.
This whole show was presented in "Confus-O-Vision"! :-)

Christian Daly said...

This is kind of separate from comments on this show, but still (I hope) relevant. What podcast was it that was supposed to record the Kazuo Koike panel at Comicon?

J.L. Carrozza said...

"I wonder if there's anything out there dedicated entirely to 70s Shaw Brothers kung fu pictures? Could this be a job for Jules Carrozza aka "Kojiro Abe"?!"

My new blog is very Shaw Brothers oriented:
http://cinematicdamnation.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

As far as Haruhi goes, it's kind of depressing to know that the Region 2 dvds have chosen to follow chronological order rather than the tv broadcast order, meaning that's what we'll also get when it's inevitably licensed.

Even more depressing is that we'll also be hit with the standard whining and outrage from the 'enlightened' fans at such places as Animeondvd or ANN at how horrible [company] is for changing the order of the episodes from what they're used to, regardless of the fact it's the way the creators seem to want it.

Reading ANNs review of My-Hime made me want to kill myself for similar reasons.

Chris Sobieniak said...

Funny I'm not that bitchy to see Haruhi in chronological order on DVD, but I can see where people would get the wrong idea and go on a rampage on it via webforums for months.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, just thought you'd like to know youre number four on iTune AUS for Anime podcasts.Looking forward to show #30 - Katie

The Joel said...

Regarding the style of Requiem from the Darkness: isn't it lame that they would put so much work into the geography and then animate the charcaters traditionally? The characters seem out of place in the landscapes. Even though their outlandish designs mirror the enviornment they don't seem to be a part of it; they appear transposed. Stuff just seems not to fit together.

Daryl Surat said...

I'm not sure what you mean when you say they animate the characters in Requiem From the Darkness "traditionally" as opposed to the backgrounds since it seemed to my blind to art self as though the same approach was taken to both. Sure, there is like, one instance where the townspeople are rendered as 3D CG, but the backgrounds are for the most part 2D drawings just as the characters are. There's a few instances where CG is used for circular panning shots/zooming or to depict trees, streamers, or water, but it's not like the Metropolis movie where the backgrounds are fully 3D CG and the characters are entirely 2D cel-animated. Most everyone I know dislikes the Metropolis movie and/or thinks that the art juxtaposition is too off-putting. These people clearly hate America and our freedom.

Of the few people that have seen Requiem From the Darkness, many seem to have "I can't figure out what it is I'm seeing on the screen" as a complaint. Clearly, they're just not geniuses like me, but let's face it: who is? Why, just now I took a Testriffic IQ test that said I was the coolest cat on the block, and if anything's ironclad reliable in this world, it's online multiple choice tests created for people's Livejournals.

I'm going to try and release a little bonus content by the end of the day today to make up for the delay between episodes. It won't be an episode proper since it's mainly going to be our interviews with Nobuteru Yuuki and Christine Auten which we just conducted at Otakon along with whatever other random things I can find to pad out time. Then after we release the next actual episode featuring the anime incarnation of myself, three guys who know karate and pilot robots, and three guys that are queer bakers who not only DON'T know karate but don't pilot robots, the next thing is to get a bunch of these con reports done in order to justify our having press access to these things.

Scott Green said...

The failure of Requiem From the Darkness, at least in North America seems to raise the question of whether anime marketing is equipped to handle releases of different genres. Maybe Requiem could have become a moderate success if you went after cult cinema fans, but you're not going to sell it to the buyers of Kannazuki no Miko and with the volume of anime being released, you can't expect it to be discovered on its own like Serial Experiments Lain was back when that was released.

In general, for the more non-standard titles, I think the North American companies need to work harder to generate buzz. Going back to Fantastic Children, that's a series you have to work to convince the buyer to invest in. Takashi Nakamura's work looks European and different from most anime. That's a turn-off. The earlier episodes aren't solidly convincing either.

In a lot of cases, these distributors just don't seem to be sharp about creating buzz. Even as simple as crediting trailers. Who's seen a good anime trailer recently? ADV was real good in the late 90's, when they used to make questionable OAVs seem thrilling. Now, not so much.