Thanks

zip scan 12-profile pic cutI don’t know for sure what I’m going to try to do…
I’m afraid this will just turn into a list of apologies or assurances…
when what I’m really trying to say is that this project, NewAnimeThursday, is reaching a close.

Since falling off my routine of regularly writing reviews for anime due to a concussion, I’ve started pondering my reason for continuing. And even though I’d like to say that I’m just too busy to keep writing or that I want to start a new project, it boils down to a lack of energy and drive to continue NewAnimeThursday.

I’m by no means ending my obsession with anime, manga, etc. I still plan on moving to Japan (though now I’m looking more into being an ESL teacher), and I still love being enraptured in current anime, as well as marathoning completed series that people recommend to me. I just have no reason or enthusiasm to write and continue running a full blog. And it’s not like I’m dropping off the face of the anime side of the internet. I’ll still quip on Twitter, and I’m regular on Facebook on the pages You’ve got to be Squidding Me and The League of Emotional Otaku. I’ll also keep reading the blogs on my Google Reader (and probably comment more). And I’m still on Skype (belden.otaku) too if you want to chat.

tooru-pp-cut-21octWhether or not I return to blogging, either on a new NewAnimeThursday or some other blog is uncertain and probably unlikely in the very near future, but who knows. As one project ends, another begins. I’ve gained a lot through NewAnimeThursday, friends I love communicating and discussing with, and I’ve expanded my curiosity and interests far beyond what I had just 2 years ago. Through NAT I’ve “found my voice” in writing, and by that I mean I’ve come to learn that my “voice” is a changing, adaptive quality that’s served me very well, both in blogging and in the real world, where I’m now more well-spoken in classes and able to cut through and understand complex topics with an objective viewpoint.

Though I’d hate to add to feal’s dead blog count, if I were to continue simply to avoid that, I’d be doing it for the wrong reasons. If I were to continue, I’d want to enjoy it like I should and not feel obligated to do so. Not that I do now, I just don’t have the desire to anymore. It’s not necessarily a growing tired of, but more of a growing out of NewAnimeThursday. I’m going to leave the site active (until WordPress decides I’m too inactive or however they kick off pages), and I’ll get an email if anyone comments on an old post, so I’ll be sure to respond.

I’m not sure how to end this, other than to thank anyone who read, followed, and commented. I hope you continue to remain awesome.

- BeldenOtaku

Thanks for reading

Thanks for reading

Another 0 (OVA): I’ve Missed Mei…

In for a bit of a treat this week with the release of the Winter 2012‘s horror series’, Another, prologue episode. Recounting Mei’s friendship with her once lost twin, Misaki, just a short period of time prior to her entry into the third year class and the subsequent horrors we saw in the main series, Another 0 shows Mei in a new light compared to her usually stoic nature. Lighthearted outings with her sister, separated at birth, and the closeness they shared that turned dark the night Mei began to see the color of death upon her. After more than one near death experience, Mei’s fears come to fruition as Misaki collapses, later finding out she has leukemia. Sadly, Misaki wasn’t meant to recover, but it did lead to Mei’s chance encounter with Kouichi, one night in the basement of the hospital, as Mei goes to deliver her final gift to her now forever lost twin sister.

Breaking away from the horror trend of the main story, Another 0 really showcases the art style and background of the series. In the words of Misaki, even the most run down things seemed “cute”, or at least well designed and crafted from an animation and design standpoint. I still get goosebumps when I get to see Mei’s faux eye, it’s always so perfectly lit and seems to have a depth beyond what is physically there. I also thought it was cute that Misaki wore an eyepatch too for part of the episode.

The character dynamic between Mei and Misaki was very interesting, it really showed the subtleties of two sisters who hadn’t lived together. And I always love it when twins, although in this case visually dissimilar enough to tell apart, have personal mannerisms that differentiate them, and I like it even more when these mannerisms make me like one more than the other. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t dislike Misaki, but I adore Mei, especially so when she was smiling and happy. The emotional connection Mei had with her twin before she died also explains some of Mei’s behavior seen at the beginning of the series back in December. Her quiet despair and seeming loneliness make more sense and are more recognizable now that these traumatic events have been shown. Or maybe it’s just me that found this whole prologue to be an enlightening look at what may have caused Mei to just accept her fate as the “extra” student.

I’m glad this episode 0 was released, after all the events of the main story this extra look into the events beforehand shows a more in-depth look into Mei’s backstory that really couldn’t be shown in the main series. A lot of the mystery surround her and the class would’ve been ruined (or at least diluted) if the whole backstory and once-lost twin had been shown as a part of an early episode. Now, seeing this OVA lets one look back at the main series with an additional piece of understanding and appreciation for the character depth that was prevalent through the whole thing.

Another – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Rinne no Lagrange: Final Review

Time to wrap up the Winter 2012 season with final, final review for the series Rinne no Lagrange. This mecha/not-sure-what-to-qualify-this series follows the story of Madoka who discovers a powerful secret hidden just outside of her hometown of Kamogawa. Human history, as we know it, was merely the tip of the iceberg, as Kamogawa becomes the scene of a galactic struggle over the legendary Vox mechas. Supposedly to have nearly destroyed the Earth thousands of years ago, humanity took it’s technology into the stars, leaving the Vox behind, all for the preservation of the human home world.

Along the way, Madoka becomes friends with the alien princess (and moe incarnate) Fin E Ld Si Laffinty (“Lan” for short) and starcrossed refugee, Muginami. As the trio pilot the three Vox units against the Kiss forces attempting to take the Vox for themselves (and probably nefarious purposes as well). With an OVA and second season to come, I really don’t feel I can review the plot. It’s hardly begun and I think there’s much more in store for our trio of heroines. Though, so far, I’m very much emotionally attached and was heartbroken to see the group split up at the end of this first season (I hope they don’t wait too long to reunite in the next season).

Animation was stellar and I loved the streaming trail that followed the Vox units in flight, as well as the detail in, well, everything. The action and fight scenes were superbly framed and my only complaint was that the best parts of the fights were shown after-the-fact, leaving me upset for a few minutes (or sometimes a whole week) that they had cut out the action-y goodness. I’m also not very pleased that Muginami returned to Kiss with Villaguilio WITH THE VOX IGNIS!!! She just delivered the super weapon into enemy hands… At least Lan (the one I like) is on the hunt for her in the Vox Rympha. I can’t imagine Madoka sitting on Earth for too long. Pretty soon she’s going to be itching to get back to Muginami and Lan, so she’s not going to wait much before she jumps in the Vox Aura and scares everyone on the base half to death (and I eagerly await July for exactly THIS scene…)

 

Final rating for Rinne no Lagrange:….9.0 Great animation, compelling story, but maybe a little lax with the giant robots. I’d like more giant robots. More giant robots…would be nice. Not that the cute schools scenes weren’t…cute, but a certain point, it just feels like filler. I have high hopes for the continued story, and more giants robots.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

 

…….giant robots, please :3

Black Rock Shooter: Final Review

Back with the 4th final review of the Winter 2012 season, Black Rock Shooter. This series adaptation of the OVA goes more in-depth into the mysterious world of the Black Rock Shooter. Acting as an alternate to the high school girl, Mato, BRS locks into battle with the alternates of other girls Mato encounters in her life, such as Yomi (Dead Master), Yuu (Strength), and Saya-chan sensei (Black Gold Saw). Ultimately leading up to Mato’s confrontation with her powerful alternate, Black Rock Shooter, in an attempt to save the girls who have become disconnected with their emotions after their alternates were killed by BRS in the other worlds.

After being stunned with quality animation in the OVA, it’s a bit of a let down to see the slight dip in quality, but overall, this series still ranks high in quality relative to other series. For the same reasons (cost, mostly) I was also disappointed that it was only eight episodes. A full cour would’ve allowed for more awesome-tastic fighting, would it not? The plot was well suited for eight episodes, so it’s not such a big deal. The BRS series certainly gave more of a glimpse into the mysterious world that operates so near to Mato’s own world than the OVA did. And to see Mato come into conflict with Black Rock Shooter herself was a treat in and of itself.

Though I would’ve liked to get more information on BRS, I think that if too much is explained, she loses of her mystique and intrique. This seems like a good place to leave off…for now. Final rating:….9.1 I don’t really have any complaints, this is a good addition to the OVA and the style of the show is really cool (thinking of making a cosplay using BRS’s general design, actually). Though, like I said, more episodes=more awesome fight scenes (in my mind, anyway), and I wish Koha-sempai could’ve had an alternate so her emotional part would’ve been involved with the others.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Final Review

….*sigh*…I kinda don’t wanna do this *just do it* but *do it*….okay, here we go. Back with the 4th final of the Winter 2012 season, Senki Zesshou Symphogear. If I don’t sound very enthused with this one, it has almost everything to do with the ending, I rather enjoyed this series, until around episode 11 or 12. But…that ending…all the laws of physics and time continuation…broken…and the power ranger outfits…and the cut back to episode 1.

Even a bad ending? I don't know...

Senki Zesshou Symphogear follows the story of Hibiki, an average over-enthusiastic girl with a yuri-esque best friend, Miku. One day, at a Zwei Wing concert, the “ageless threat” to humanity, the Noise, attacked. Sacrificing her life, Kanade, one of the two singers of Zwei Wing, saves Hibiki, and scatters fragments of her Symphogear relic in Hibiki’s chest. Cut to a few years later, Hibiki and MIku are enrolled in a musical academy, as is Tsubasa, Kanade’s duet partner from Zwei Wing. Originally upset to see HIbiki using Kanade’s relic to activate the secret power of the Symphogear armor, eventually they become close and even form a bond with full time tsundere, Chris, also a wielder of Symphogear armor. As Noise attacks become more frequent, and harder to fight off, an age-old conspiracy comes to light, as the trio use the power of song to save the world from a Babylonian priestess who locked her spirit within her descendants and has re-awoken to try and unite the world (or destroy it, or destroy the moon, I’m not sure, it was kinda confusing).

Go! Go! Sympho-Rangers!!

If you enjoy mahou shoujo, then you’ll like Symphogear, but, at the same time, being a musically based series, the soundtrack isn’t half bad (don’t take my opinion when it comes to music, audio is subjective, head over to youtube and listen for yourself). The overall theme of the series is that the power of song can unite us all, and words aren’t the only way to bring us together and communicate (a throw back to the Tower of Babel, and how the people of the Earth, attempting to reach God, were scattered across the Earth, their languages differentiated so they couldn’t come together again to reach God).

The Tower of Babel is (what I gathered) where the priestess came in, taking over Ryouko’s body, Fine first attempts to destroy the moon (because that solves so many problems, am I right?) because it embodies the god she tried to reach out to back then, but was rejected. Using the power of completed relics, Fine puts up an impossibly hard fight for the Symphogear trio. But, with song (or rather, boosted phonetic resonance) of their friends from the school, the trio dons newly unlimited armors, but Fine sees their new power, and raises them a city full of Noise legions. *Cut to about 90 seconds and half a dozen atomic sized explosions later* They’re all defeated, now all that’s left if Fine and her devil/red snake/ancient evil weapon powered by the two complete relics. With teamwork, Chris and Tsubasa move the Durandal relic into Hibiki’s hands. With her friends cheering her on, she fights back the “darkness” and cuts Fine down to size.

“Good guy Hibiki”, humble in victory, carries Ryouko off the battlefield for an inspiring end-of-the-series speech on we can all be friends. Big surprise, Fine makes one last move to win, using up her remaining strength to extend Nehushtan’s chain out to the moon-shard and pull on a trajectory with the Earth (I’ll address the physics issues in a minute). Crumbling to ash, she leaves the scene with Hibiki promising to protect the Earth for the future where people can come together. The three girls make a fantastic last shot to eliminate the approaching threat, and really show off the power of their unrestricted armors…ending with a meteor shower that Hibiki leaves for Miku…

I herd u liek rockets...

Miku and the rest of the world continue life in light of the battle and near extermination of the Earth, without the three girls, announced dead. But wait, they just had to keep their survival a secret for secret reasons that are a secret. *sigh* So, on top of not actually dying, they didn’t actually defeat the Noise, they still attack, they’re still a big threat (but wait, I though Fine was the one summoning them? *shut up* but, then, where are they coming from? *don’t ask questions* whatever). Speaking of undefeated Noise, remember all those Noise Fine summoned and the girls defeated? *Yeah* Remember all those explosions as they destroyed the Noise? *Of course, they’re hard to miss* WHY IS THERE STILL A CITY STANDING? *whatever, anime logic*

Now onto physics-related contradictions and other continuity problems with the final two episodes. First, anyone notice how, in the span of maybe 7 minutes, the setting went from early morning, to sunrise, to mid-day. *What happened? Were they taking breaks for meals? Large amounts of daylight time are missing!* Now let’s hit the big problem, Fine pulling the moon onto a collision course with Earth. Let’s address distance, Fine used her chain to grab the moon, in approximately 15 seconds to 1 minute (I’ll allow for the time lapsing and such). In the real world, it took astronauts (in 1969) nearly 3 days to reach the moon (that’s one way). That’s nearly 250 000 miles/minute (more than 20 000x the speed of sound) for Fine to be sending her chain to the moon shard. Now, Fine pulling the moon shard in Earth’s general direction. Let’s break out the Newtonian laws and remember Force (F) equals mass (m) multiplied by acceleration (a) (F=ma). If the shard is approximately one-eighth (being generous) of the moon’s mass, and it was moving at a speed fast enough to reach the upper atmosphere of the Earth (it started heating and glowing, denoting entry) within a matter of minutes, she generated more than enough force to merely crack the rocky ground she stood on. (Unless the dying Nehushtan armor has some magical properties that render Newtonian physics moot, then if that’s the case, forget everything I’ve said). Not that a little bending of real world mechanics bothers me (Hollywood does it all the time, just watch some Mythbusters, they’ll show you), but this sort of blatant misunderstanding of the basic principles around us bugs a former engineering student, like myself.

Don't cry, Chris! I still love you very much! :3

Not really sure how to wrap this up, on the one hand, I really enjoyed the series until it got ridiculously convoluted and hard to understand, then there’s the convoluting and hard to understand ending. On top of the fact that they really haven’t solved the Noise problem or even answered really any questions regarding the Noise. A good soundtrack, B-grade animation, and interesting premise can’t save Symphogear from the jarring conclusion. Final rating:….6.8 It has some good points going for it, and if you like mahou shoujo or musical series, go ahead and try Symphogear, but if you’re looking for a plot with a solid ending (and a better grasp of mechanical physics), I don’t recommend Symphogear.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

 

Kill Me, Baby: Final Review

Back with the 3rd review of finals week, the Winter 2012 comedy series, Kill Me, Baby! Going in, I was very excited. I had read the manga before, and loved it. Unfortunately, KMB turned in a case example that some things that work in manga, don’t work in anime. What was a funny, familiar setup in the manga, became repetitive and predictable in the televised series. The only breath of fresh air seemed to come from anyone other than Sonya or Yasuna…

Kill Me, Baby! centers around the daily school lives of child assassin, Sonya, and superhumanly tough girl, Yasuna.  Also occasionally joining the fun, highschool ninja girl, Agiri, and the jilted Unused Character. With bits ranging from word-play to physical comedy, the characters constantly bounce the joke around, usually only ending when Yasuna falls to Sonya’s wrath. As mentioned, the setup is what really hurt KMB. It can easily be boiled down to 1.) Yasuna gets excited about something (usually something she’s seen on TV) 2.) Yasuna tells Sonya about it 3.) Yasuna proposes activity related to her excitement 4.) Sonya refuses 5.) Yasuna begins anyway.  Sometimes seasonal, sometimes random, Yasuna and Sonya’s exploits were very humorous at first, but eventually stale and predictable. The only respite from the same-old same-old was when Agiri (my favoritest ninja of all time, now) got involved. And Unused Character’s few appearances were just that, few (I would’ve liked to see more, possibly even a more plot-driven approach to this under utilized girl).

In the end, Yasuna had to resort to shock value to get laughs...

Being a comedy, animation and visual quality aren’t very important, but I’ll note the character songs and the ED as being very catchy and appealing.  Final grade for Kill Me, Baby!:…. 8.0
Again, the comedy became repetitive and predictable, but Agiri shed a few lights of comedy gold here and there. Could make for a fun afternoon if I ever feel like re-watching.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Another: Final Review

Back with the 2nd final of the Winter 2012 season, the horror series, Another. Truth be told, this is honestly the first horror series I’ve ever genuinely watched. And while most definitely scared like 80% of the time, I did enjoy the ride and wasn’t just a senseless gore-fest like I had feared it would turn into. With a premise that became more mysterious with every episode, Another became one of my favorites of the season (despite the somewhat sleepless nights).

 

The story revolves around the strange phenomenon that results in the deaths of many students and the relatives of students in class 3 of Yomi North High School. After Kouichi moves to town, he finds a class held in the grip of a 20 year old curse, and sets out to find a solution with the strange, Misaki Mei. In an attempt to stave off the deaths, the class decides to treat a student as if they didn’t exist, each year, a student from Class 3 is ignored, in hopes the dead will return to death, and the rest will be spared. After not going over so well, with both Kouichi and Mei being treated as the dead students, the gang from Class 3 puts their heads together to try and stop the deaths halfway…

After following leads and a blood bath of a school trip, the curse was ended (at least for the year), with both Mei and Kouichi safe and sound (though, most likely mentally scarred). I was very pleased that the actual “dead one” totally caught me by surprise. No “it was an un-named student always in the background” or not actually a character from school, a character you would’ve never guessed (unless, I don’t know, you read the book or the manga) was the “dead one” the whole time.

With characters you’ll hate to see die, but love to see go bats*** crazy, Another has depth that’s hard to compete with. As well as a visual portfolio that rivals anything else this season, Another gets top scores from me. Rating:…. 9.1
Though horror is definitely not my thing, I’m really glad I gave Another a try. Though…not looking for any more horror any time soon. Let’s run down the things Another has made me scared of: umbrellas, slippery stairs, lightening, panes of glass, idle construction equipment, burning houses, crazy classmates, motor boats, falling rocks….

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku