A new novel "Seikai no Senki IV" is out and a new anime "Seikai no Senki III" has been announced. A big surprise (to me)! ^_^;;
Melody gems, which will never fade forever...
Okazaki Ritsuko's new album, "For Ritz"
Available on 29 December
This is an TV ad for her new ans last album (I think the narration is by Hayashibara Megumi, for whom Ritsuko wrote many songs). The album was orginally planned to be released eariler this year but, because of her too early death, had been postponed. Star Child chose to release it on the day, which would have been her 45th birthday. Of course, I had pre-ordered it as soon as the release was announced but am not sure if I can listen to it without tears...
Just a quick note to say that the winner of the "Kumo no Mukou" booklet is zengu. ^_^
Last evening I went to Theatre Rise in Shibuya to watch "Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho (The Place Promised in Our Early Days)," a new movie by the director of "Hoshi no Koe (The Distant Star)." Originally I had been planning to go Thursday evening but, seeing the theatre's website saying that Shinkai-san was coming on Friday evening, I changed my plan.
I arrived about 30 minutes before the start of the movie but people were already queuing up, probably having heard of the director's appearance. I haven't seen his famous debut film yet (although I own the DVD for more than a year ^_^;;) and had no idea if I would like this new movie. But it was an unnecessary worry; the movie turned out to be really good and I enjoyed it very much ^_^
The story is set in an imaginary yet current Japan, where it is divided as Hokkaido is occupied by "The Union" and the other part of Japan remains Japan although it is under the heavy influence of US. The Union has build an incredibly tall tower (even visible from Tokyo). Hiroki and Takuya are students of a junior high school in Aomori, the most northern prefecture, that is, the front-line of US/Japan against the Union. Apart from their ordinary life as a student, they are secretly building an airplane to see the tower closely out of purely boyish curiosity. One day their classmate, Sayuri, who Hiroki secretly admire, finds out about their plan and Hiroki promises to take her to the Tower on the plane when it is built. But soon Sayuri disappears from the town without a word to end their happy innocent days.
Three years later, US is about to declare a war against the Union for the fear that the Tower is a very powerful weapon. Hiroki is living a very lonely and aimless life in a high school in Tokyo whereas Takuya remains in a high school in Aomori and works as a part-time research assistance at a laboratory researching parallel worlds (the tower was supposed to be a link to one). The two boys have no idea that Sayuri is in a hospital in Tokyo and sleeping... just sleeping perhaps because of the Tower. Things slowly develops to bring the three together and send them to the journey to the Tower... (Note that the actually story is told in a far more complex timeline but I made it simple here).
The story is interesting and the characters are attractive. Yet my first impression is that it is a "beautiful" film to watch. Perhaps too beautiful to those who prefer realism, but to me, it made me think "oh, I'd love to live in this place" just like some Ghibli film. The fact that the place and time where the most of the story takes place (Aomori in probably 70s or 80s) are very close to my own experience may be a big factor. In terms of its beauty, it reminded me of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou in that the decaying civilisation (deserted Tsugaru area in this film) can be very soothingly beautiful and attractive. In any case, the film is definitely worth watching.
To share my happiness, I bought an extra copy of the movie booklet to give away. So, if you want it, please, as usual, send me an e-mail containing your (a) name, (b) nickname to be shown here if you are the winner and (c) address (the real one, not the e-mail), with "Yakusoku movie booklet" as the subject. The deadline is 18:00 9th Dec 2004.
Among my recent acquisitions is "Ichigeki Sacchuu!! Hoihoi-san" (aka Interceptor Doll Hoihoi-san," a manga by Tanaka Kunihiko. A great fun ^_^
It is set in Kyoto of near future where all the domestic harmful insects, such as cockroaches and mosquitoes, have acquired multi drug resistance like VRE and MRSA in our world. So some pharmaceutical companies have developed tiny robots to physically attack them (of course, it is questionable if they can be still called *pharmaceutical* companies ^_^;;). Not only those robots shoot cockroaches with their machine guns day and night but they also attract some fandom as they take a form of young girls...
It naturally reminds me of many anime. Hand Maid May is the first one, of course. But Angelic Layer is another choice as the dolls remain "dolls", completely mechanical and emotionless. Also there is a flavour of Genshiken, depicting a hopelessly predictable otaku life ^_^;; A great thing is that they made a short anime of it and attached a DVD with the first pressing. JFYI, Hoihoi-san is voiced by Kugimiya Rie (Cyber Doll Rena) and Tanaka Rie (Chii) acts as Combat-san, Hoihoi-san's rival.
The comic doesn't have a volume number and I wonder if, and definitely hopes there will be more.
I'm now back in Japan. During the loooong flights to and from the east coast of US, I read some novels to kill time aboard. One of them was Maburaho "Fukkatsu no Maki - Nansei [Chapter of Revival - South West]". It's the eighth volume of the short story arc and contains six short episodes (Maburaho consists, like some other Dragon series such as "Slayers" and "Full Metal Panic", of two related yet independent story arcs often termed as the "long" and "short" ones. In the case of Maburaho, the anime corresponds to the short one").
Anyway Kuriko is getting dangerously cute ^_^;; She started as a very outgoing, dominating and self-confident girl. But the ball party episode a few volumes ago showed her gentle side and since then her true character and family background which has made it has been gradually revealed. She really is sensitive, insecure and perhaps "weak" as Haruka, one of her sisters, puts it. Besides she remains the most mature of the three girls (or the four, if you want to include Maiho) and cares a lot about Kazuki and her rivals. All combined, she is threatening Rin as my No.1 Maburaho girl ^_^;;
BTW, I used American Airlines within US this time. They had, as usual, an in-flight magazine, which, also as usual, had a world map section at the end. BUT!! The location of Japanese cities were incorrect. Anyone willing to tell them?
Greetings from Washington DC ^_^ with some cost. My hotel (Hilton) charges about $10 per day for the Internet connection -_-;; I�fve never paid such charge at Japanese hotels...
This is my first visit to the city and it is far less crowed than I had imagined. Not liking the big cities, I prefer Washington to other cities, such as NY. Although this is a business trip, I had a chance to visit the National Air and Space Museum, one of the Smithsonian museums. Among various exhibitions, they have an Imax theatre and I watched "Space Station 3D," a short 3D movie showing how cosmonauts are building the International Space Station. My expectation wasn't particularly high but it turned out to be a wonderful experience. Scenes in and *out* the space ship was so real, thanks to the big screen and the 3D effect, I could feel like Hachi and Tanabe (of Planetes) ^_^ I wish they would bring this to Japan and let Yukino Satsuki to do the narration (instead of Tom Cruise) ^_-
Last night I went to the live of CooRie to celebrate her(?) first full album "Akiyasumi." It was held at a live-house (is this a proper English?) and the place was packed with the audience (say, 1000 people?). Unlike Orikasa Ai's event the other day, it was almost entirely men. I saw only a single woman during the session ^_^;; Anyway, the live started with "Sentimental," the OP of Midori no Hibi. Probably because of her voice, I had imagined that Rino was very slender person like Tanaka Rie and Chiba Saeko but she wasn't ^_^;; She went on to other songs of hers with a few words between them. It seems the year of 2004 has been a very tough one to Rino, she talked about her struggle half in tears in the curtain call. She finished the event with "Enpitsu", completing more than 10 songs in about 70-minute event.
Now more about recent shows...
I've got an invitation to CooRie's live. Yay! ^_^
I went to an event of Orikasa Ai in promotion of her latest CD last Sunday. It was held at the top floor of Yamagiwa Soft in Akihabara and it was the first time for to visit the place after the fire back in February. The room had been completely refurbished and are now better equipped. Yet for those who know what it was like before the fire, it was very sad to see all the wall panels, literally covered with autographs/drawings by many many famous artists/seiyuu/musicians, had been removed ;_;
A few minute of talk over what she has been doing recently, she soon moved on to a mini-convert. Very unusual for these free event, two guitarists joined the stage (karaoke tapes are usually used) and one of them was the producer, Mr Motomichi. Then Ai found at the very back of the room a woman singer who did the chorus of the album (she happened to be there). So she also invited the lady to the stage... but apparently without a pay ^_^;; With three musicians to support, it became a really good and very acoustic session ^_^ After the concert, we got her autograph and shook her hand as usual. It was a very nice and pleasant event ^_^
At loooooong last, I've got a decent DSL connection back! ^_^ I'll upload new files, accumulated during the poor net condition, pretty soon.
The first week of the October has past and now it's time to check the new shows. I haven't seen all of them, of course, but here are some of them.
October is also time for Bandai Visual's DVD giveaway ^_^ I was hoping they would include Iria in the list but they didn't. So I'm going for Top o Nerae 2 and Mars Daybreak ^_^
My DSL connection at home is still very poor. So, if you are waiting for my reply to your e-mail, please be patient a little more.
Recent surprises. About two weeks ago I dropped in at a Gamers in Akihabara and found a *pile* of a rather unusual magazine, Frau. It's a high grade magazine for women and something you never expect to see in Gamers, Animate or Toranoana. The reason was that the magazine had an interview and special article of CLAMP as successful women artists (the cover of the issue is an illustration by them). Then I remembered that a colleague of mine showed me an issue of Frau about a few years ago, saying there was something that would certainly interest me. I dug a box at a corner of my office to find the October 1996 issue of the magazine, which had an special coverage of shoujo manga. So Frau isn't completely unfamiliar with anime/manga. After all it is published from Kodasha (of Shounen Magazine, Afternoon, Morning, Nakayoshi etc).
Another surprise was that I learnt something called "Maria-sama ga Miteiru" is out on DVD. It is a live action version of MariMite... or more precisely, it seems to be an unauthorised porn using the MariMite setting (note the extra "i" in the title). It can't be a great stuff but the biggest problem with it is the fact I'm tempted to watch it ^o^;;;;;;
My DSL connection at home has been very poor recently. In fact the time I wrote the entry below (18 Sep) was the only time I got connected in last six days. I don't know when the problem will get fixed, so please expect poor update and slow response to your e-mails.
Avex has announced yesterday that from 22 Sep they will "be more flexible" about their use of CCCD. As their CCCD was pretty useless scheme, I doubt this would make much difference...
I've just found out (must be very late) but the third season of Full Metal Panic is coming. Or the second season of the "long story" arc. I don't know much other than this yet, though.
JFYI, I added a new item in the Haibane Renmei artbooks page.
Vanessa~~~~ ;_; ;_; ;_;
Since the end of the first season in March, I restarted reading the MariMite novels and just finished the St Valentine saga. It was interesting to note that the main difference between the novel and anime in the early episodes were mostly "omission". That is, the anime cut quiet a few scneces from the novel to fit the time slot. But it seems the staff took a little more freedom in the later episodes. Of course, they still cut a lot but they did make quite a few changes as well. Rosa Canina's dating with Shimako is a good example. Reading the novel makes far more sense about the sequence at the empty school of Sunday afternoon.
I'm sure this is already explained in some fan sites but it's about the name of Uzawa Mifuyu, the girl who stole(?) Sachiko's Valentine card. When I heard Uzawa for the first time, it sounded rather odd because all the MariMite girls have pretty well-known family name. But apparently it had meaning. Yumi and Mifuyu are supposedly very similar, that is, both are VERY commomplace girls, standing out in no particular ways (studies, sports nor appearance). Mifuyu definitely thought so at first but eventually realised that there is a very small yet very important difference in their character. So Ms Konno implied this in their names. Compare Fukuzawa Yumi and Uzawa Mifuyu. Do you get it? ^_-
Also I found it is a great pity that Rosa Chinensis's side story about St Valentine saga wasn't made into the anime. I know it is impossible, unless heavily modified, but it is, AFAIK, the only story to show her in imperfect condition and makes her very cute *^_^*
Speaking of MariMite, you know that Yumi took Sachiko to a hambuger restaurant for their date, where Sachiko looked for a knife and fork in vain. They should have gone to Mos Burger and ordered "Takumi" burger, a super-duper high quality burger. It is pretty big and does come with a knife and fork and there is a Mos restaurant near the "K Station" where they were ^_^
It wasn't that she wanted to be a model student.
It happened to be the only life she could live.
(from "The Best Day for Rosa Chinensis")
It's hot. It's summer. And you can't talk about Japanese summer without fireworks. We had our local firework festival today. It's one of the big ones around Tokyo and 14,000 fireworks were used for the 75min show of the oriental light magic ^_- No figure has been given for this year but more than 1.3 million people came here to see it last year. So the bank of the Edogawa river, which we see in the OP sequence of DearS, gets packed (I mean it, *packed*) with people. I enjoyed the show from my room, which has a good view (not a perfect view) of the show.
Speaking of DearS, one of the comical points of the show is Ren's way of speaking. She claims to be a slave of Takeya but speaks like his master ^_^;; I wonder how many of you have notices but she speaks like Lamhirh. Of course, they aren't exactly the same, Ren uses "Ren" and "Takeya" for "I" and "you," probably to emphasise her immaturity, whereas Lamhirh uses "I" and "you" (in very pompous way, though). Yet Ren fails to show even a piece of obedience to Takeya through her words ^_^;; Neneko, BTW, speaks like a swordwoman like Motoko and Rin. I wonder how translators for the NA version work around it.
DearS is not the only new July show I'm interested ^_^;;. In term of music, especially the OP and ED songs, Kurau and Fafner stand out. Kurau's music is by Katsuki Yukari, a member of S.E.N.S. The first time I noticed the name of S.E.N.S. was NHK's big history program "Silk Road of the Sea". I was impressed with their music and wasn't surprised to hear her good work in this show.
As for Fafner, although I haven't watched a single episode of the show yet, the OP by angela is another wonderful song as you expect. The quetion now is wheather I can get a ticket for their live later this month ^_^;;
Yesterday morning I was waiting at the station for a train to go to work as usual. The one with a yellow line came in as usual. But there was something unusual. The train had more that the yellow marking on it... another yellow thing... Pikachu ^_^;; It seems that JR East is going to have another Pokemon stamp rally and has made this special Pokemon train to celebrate/advertise it. Apparently 91 pocket monsters in total are painted on the train. As the train go through each station, quite a few people waiting for train seemed surprised and most of kids seemed excited ^_^ Well, as there is only one has been painted, I wonder if I see it again before the campaign end in a month (not that I'm desperate to see in again ^_^;;).
One of the new anime I'm watching is NHK's "Agatha Christie Theatre". I doubt it will be popular among anime fans, especially in NA, but its simple storyline and stable by OLM (and Orikasa Fumiko ^_-) make it a decent show to me. Oikawa Mitsuhiro, whose voice acting was phenomenally bad in the Utena movie, appeared in Eps.3. He was better this time. That is, he was simply bad -_-;;;;;;
Hot... hot... We are having a very hot summer this year in Japan... well, in Tokyo. The temperature went above 39C the other day and the *lowest* temperature of the next morning was above 30C -_-;;
So I'm writing this with beer and yakitori ^_^ Many of you must know what yakitori is but perhaps some of you don't know it is a general term. For example, 'negima' used as the title of Akamtsu's manga is a type of yakitori. Among what I'm eating now is 'hatsu', which I had never tried it until Angela ordered it in Someday's Dreamers. She has a good taste ^_^
Just came back from Chiba Saeko's live concert in Ebisu (if you don't know where Ebisu is, it is where the headquarter of Vesper locates ^_-). It was at a small multi-purpose hall, which I'd visited several times before for scientific meetings. At the entrance, there were quite a few flowers sent to celebrate the concert. Her fellow seiyuu like Nogawa Sakura and Iizuka Mayumi were among the senders. I was a little surprised to see one from Okui Masami (does anyone know their connection?). The hall with a capacity of around 700 was full, of course, and, as expected, more than 95% of audience was male ^_^;; It seems a special area was set aside for "invited people" but my seat was too far to recognise any of them (Kajiura Yuki might have been there).
The concert started with "Beginning" and she appeared in lacy white dress... without shoes. I soon realised why. She was very active during the concert, dancing around or even jumping around ^_^ A nice thing was that the backing musicians included a violinist and a woman vocalist, essential to Kajiura Yuki's music. Anyway she sang about 20 songs, all from her two albums (that is, Kajiura works) and finished with "Sayonara Solitaire." All of my favourite songs such as "Ice Cream" and "Koi no Kiseki" were included (I mean my favourite *solo* songs. Songs for "Four Season" and "Tiarawy" can't be expected ^_^;;). After the curtain call, she sang two more "Hoshi" and "Wednesday Morning" to end the concert.
I have to say I had "?" about the sound system (or sound valance). Yet I enjoyed the evening. Now I wonder if I should go to Tanake Rie's live in August ^_^;;
One of the new shows from July is "DearS". The characters and stories (and fan-services) have been "typical" so far, so I don't comment on that. But a big surprise to me was its location. The show seems to be set in exactly where I live ^_^;; You know, I commute every morning from the station seen in the OP (to another also seen in the OP of the R.O.D TV). It was a surprise because this area has nothing interesting/touristy and I wonder who chose it for what reason...
A big news, AFAIC, came from the Nikkei newspaper. Its report says that Fuji TV is going to enter the anime movie market. Well, that alone isn't a surprise but the TV station has acquired 10% of the share of GDH, Gonzo Degimation Holding. This might be the second case where mass media gain their hand directly on anime studio, after Nippon TV with Ghibli. The first movie from the collaboration is said to be "Brave Story". I wonder how it will work...
I'm watching Eps.1 of the second season of Mari Mite ^_^ The OP is now with words, sung by Takarano Arika. I found her voice is a bit too coloured for "Pure Pastel." Anyway, the first episode was a bit of a surprise. I had suspected, given the title "Spring", that the story would start after the St. Valentine. But the first episode was the New Year's party, a side story of the novel Vol.4. I suppose the anime staff thought the episode is too good to miss and have put it in the series as Yumi's recollection. Oh, one thing I have to mention. The tailer (or preview of the next episode) is as wonderful as in the first season!! ^_^
Another recent show that captured my attention is Karau. I've only seen the first episode but this could become interesting.
I recently learned two new shows of my big interest will start on TV soon. First, the second season "Spring" of Mari Mita (YAY! ^_^). It was kind of expected but I was surprised to hear it would start as early as July. The other is School Rumble, a manga I mentioned about in this page about a year ago. My main interest/concern had been who would voice Yakumo. It turns out to be Noto Mamiko and I wonder how she will play it. Yakumo may be as quiet as Shimako but she has a "helpless" air which Shimako doesn't has. Let's see how she will handle the job.
I'm back in Japan now and busy again... -_-;; Well, at least I had a nice time England (although a little too hot) ^_^
During the trip, especially on trains, I listened songs from "Kita e" a lot. Of all the songs, "Kita e" and "Move on!" has become my travel theme songs ^_^ The songs by Four Seasons (hey, Chiba Saeko and Toyoguchi Megumi were in it) are very catchy and comfortable ^_^
On my flight back to Japan (what a nice thing a business class is ^o^;;) I was reading Nikkei Newspaper (the June 9 issue) and found a short report about a lawyer who is trying to revive Hanayashiki, the oldest fun park in Japan, which went bankrupt a few month. Hanayashiki appears in a few anime and, as some of you should know, it is one of the Hanagumi bases in Sakura Wars. An interesting thing was he was suggested by middle-aged(?) women of the area (the "East End of Tokyo") to read historic novels by Ikenami Shoutarou to understand the culture and history of Asakusa. Yeah, he is the favourite author of Yoshino of MariMite. The report was a nice reading and conveyed his professional and yet enthusiastic attitude. So, if you happen to visit Japan and have a few hours to kill in Tokyo, please visit it to enjoy and support the park.
Move on to towns I'm yet to see
Move on to people I'm yet to meet
(from "Move on!")
PS: Tanaka Rie still continues to host a in-flight radio program for kids in the JAL flights ^_^
I'm now off to England and will have no or very limited access to the net. So please expect delays in my reply to e-mails etc.
BTW, Vol.1 of the new manga series of "Someday's Dreamers" has just come out. It looks nice ^_^ and I'm looking forward to reading it when I come back.
I finally watch the Appleseed movie Thursday night.
I bought an advance ticket back in February but couldn't find time to go ;_; As its run on this particular theatre was going to end this week, I decided to go. I was expecting an empty theatre at the late weekday night show (it ended about 23:00) but it was reasonably crowded. I wouldn't say it was full but was busy enough. So, I suppose the move can claim a decent success commercially.
When it started, I felt a little strange. The background art looked very cheap. I mean it looked real; a real miniature models like those used in the old Godzilla movies. In another word, the material didn't seem to convey the sense of weight very well. I really don't know even now where this effect came from but that was my first impression. It took about 10 minutes or so for me to get used to it. Then the second problem. I don't like the 3D characters very much and those in this movie didn't change it. Then again I got used to them enough to concentrate to follow the story.
I don't go for details here but the story was good enough but I felt the storytelling was not as good at places. Also there were a few really violent scenes and I don't recommend it to young kids. Whatever, the speed of the show was attractive enough and the power of the last part overwhelmed me.
I'm no specialist about this of course but there seem to be a few scenes which was inserted purely (or mainly) to show off what they could do with CG. The scene where Deunan fell on the bed on her first night in Olympus was typical. The way the bedding got disturbed because of her weight was excellent... Yeah great. Yet the staff seemed to forget to draw footprints on sand in the scene where Brialeos supposedly died... as if he and Deunan had been air-lifted to be placed on the scene -_-;;
Well, in short, although there were quite a few problems, I enjoyed it and it was worth the money. Also this is one of those anime you must watch in theaters, rather than on TV/video.
One can't help comparing it with Innocence. To me, it's difficult as, although both of them are based on Shirow's work and heavily rely on CG, they seem to be very different. Appleseed tried to convey Shirow's world more faithfully whereas Innocence was, AFAIC, a fantasy created by Oshii Mamoru loosely based on Shirow's world. Also Appleseed went for full 3D like "Ao no 6-gou" whereas Innocence did a great job to fuse 3D with 2D like "Cowboy Bebop." So I suppose they can be compared directly and I'll leave it to you to judge which of them you like better.
(Seeing Eps.8) Konoye-san is cute ^_^
Sorry for lack of updates recently. I'm very busy at the moment with many things to be done before my trip to England at the beginning of June...
So I haven't talked about much about the new season from April. I'll leave details of various shows to other opportunities but one pleasant surprise is an overdose of Hisakawa Aya ^_^ I've seen her in Madlax, Tenjou Tenge, Godannar and Ragnarök. Not only these, NHK Educational has started a repeat of Card Captor Sakura ^_^ She is one of those whose voice in anime makes me happy without condition (so you can tell I'm reasonably happy with the new season ^_^;;).
A sad news. It was announced late last night that Okazaki Ritsuko passed away on 5th May. Sad. I'm really sad ;_; It was only a few days ago I listed her... last album "Melodic Hard Cure" on this site... I don't think I can play her songs for a while now ;_; ;_; ;_;
I'm watching Eps.5 of the second season of Maid in Hanaukyo. Excellent!! (I mean the first half) Three cheers for Geneon/Pioneer!! ^_^
Yay! I've got "Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsuna Koto - Primal" at last! Yay!! ^_^
As you all know, cherry blossoms are a very important thing in Japanese culture. This year, thanks to a suggestion from the AP, our lab went for 'hanami' (cherry-blossom appreciation) at the end of March. I requested to go to the Sumida Park, one of the most popular places for 'hanami', because I'd never been there. It was rather cloudy but warm enough for the occasion. We started from a subway station nearby and stalled down the riverside of Sumida-gawa, enjoying food and drink from lots of stalls ^_^, up to Sakura-bashi (Sakura Bridge). The the AP suggested to get on "Water Bus" (a shuttle boat) to watch the blossoms from the river. So we got on it and sailed down the river. As we went, the guide on the boat introduced, among various other things all the bridged across the river, which reminded me of "You're under Arrest: the Movie."
By a great coincidence, a satellite channel showed the movie this month. Now that I live in the east Tokyo (I lived in the west Tokyo when I was a student) and I've went down the river just like Miyuki and Natsumi did, the movie is far more enjoyable as I can feel the atmosphere of each place (for example, Sakura-bashi is the bridge blown up by the terrorists in the file) ^_^
This isn't the first time for me to feel like that. "Laputa", "Kiki", "Whisper of Heart" and "Nils" became more attractive after I visited each location. I suppose this is an otaku's pleasure ^_^;; but would like to visit some more anime-related places ^_^
Sorry for the lack of updates these days. I've been (and still am) very busy with this and that. How busy I was? I didn't go to Akihabara for more than 10 days, which should be enough explanation to most of you ^_-
As for the MariMite bookmarks, 10 people applied for them and j1m0ne, dasGood and Sakabadger are the winners (please give me another week or so before shipping m(_ _)m ).
An interesting thing was the distribution of the "favourite characters". The numbers goes like Rei (3), Shimako (2), Yoshino (2), Yumi (2) and Sachiko (1). You can tell how evenly spread these numbers are. Yeah, they are all attractive ^_^
First, as I mentioned last week, the last of Mari Mite give-away from me are the special bookmarks from Animate. Three people will get one each. Please note there are five characters (Yumi, Sachiko, Shimako, Rei and Yoshino) and don't forget to specify which one you want. Please fill the following form and send it to me via e-mail with "MariMite Bookmark" as the subject. The deadline is 10:00 PM on 18th Apr 2004 (JST).
---------------------------------------------------------------------- Name: Nickname (this will be shown on this page when you win): E-mail: Address: The Character of Your Choice: ----------------------------------------------------------------------
I've got an e-mail from someone who helps me to improve this page on quite a few occasions. He this time came up with an idea of doing MariMite in the Osaka accent and even suggested Matsuoka Yuki (Osaka in Azumanga) as Yumi's voice. I liked the idea and want to make some comments here.
As you may know, the idea is already tried by the real anime staff in the preview of Eps.7 where Yumi and Sachiko speak in the accent. Sachiko calls the title as 'Maria-san ga miteharu.' But I'd use 'Maria-han ga miteharu'. 'han' might sound too casual but more Osaka-ish, IMO. As 'haru' is a polite form, the respect to the Lady doesn't diminish.
BTW, the very basic concept of Osaka manzai is 'boke' and 'tsukkomi'. That is the former makes a funny comment or mistake and then the latter makes the correction (sometimes with a slap). Just like Osaka and Tomo are the former while Yomi and Chiyo are the latter in Azumanga (BTW, those do 'boke' without such intention are called 'ten'nen boke' and characters like Osaka, Yumi, Shia (Pita Ten), Akari (BA), Fuuko (IMM) and Usagi (Sailormoon) come under this category, IMO).
One of the things I like about MariMite is that, although Yumi always plays the 'boke' part at school so that Sachiko, Rosa Gigantea and others can do 'tsukkomi', Sachiko can become 'boke' in the real ordinary life as we see in the last two episodes. This situation where someone seemingly perfect suddenly becomes helpless in a different environment almost always entertains me. A good example is Crest of the Stars. At the beginning when they were in space, Ghintec made many mistakes and wrong comments and Lamhirh thought he was silly. But, as soon as they land on the planet, their positions were exchanged. Lamhirh was almost useless and had to rely on Ghintec as she reluctantly admitted. A more extreme case is Full Metal Panic. Sousuke is utterly useless at school but becomes an excellent soldier in the battlefields (the difference is that Kaname remains tough even in such places except for in her first experience ^_^;;). I wish to see more of Sachiko in trouble ^_^
Today I rushed to a shop to buy my second DVD/HDD recorder. This is to cope with a "double booking" in this new season from April. It is only seven months since I bought the first one but the market seems to have changed a lot. The new one is not as multi-functional as the first one but, even so, the price is about one third @_@
Whatever, as I have been away, I have seen only three so far.
Midori no Hibi. I didn't know anything about it but it seems to be a fun.
Maids in Hanaukyo. I had thought it would be a sequel but, to my surprise, turns out to be a complete re-make. It is closer to the original manga at some aspects than the first season did but less so in others. Let us see how it will develop (for those who are concerned about the amount of fan service more than anything else, I'd say it's comparable ^_-). Well, at least I have to say that I was disappointed to find out that the music is no longer by Terashima Tamiya.
Kita e. It is very different from what I had been expecting. Is this going to be an omnibus? The character design of Atsuko definitely succeeded in preserving Nocchi's flavour when, I think, his style is one of the most difficult to covert into anime.
The last episode of MariMite has just finished a few minutes ago ;_; It was a little disappointing as, IMO, they tried to put too much in one episode. The story of each pair of sisters deserve more time. Yet it was decent and acceptable as the ending of this wonderful series, just like the last episode of the first Seikai series. All I hope now is there will be more just like the Seikai series ^_^ At least, there are about ten volumes of the novels to be made into anime (Kawamura-san, please!!).
One of the many good things about the MariMite anime is the cast. Almost everyone was the right person to voice each character, IMO. Only exceptions were, though, Itou Miki as Sachiko-sama and Noto Mamiko as Shimako-san. I feel a little unnatural about Miki's voice when Sachiko is in bad humour while I love her voice when she is in good humour. Likewise, Mamiko's voice is perfect when Shimako is elegant or weak but not so when she tries to be tough/strong. Having said that, I can't come up with better cast. Any (wild) suggestion?
BTW, I'm going to have another (and the final) give-away draw of MariMite goods. The prize will be cute bookmarks of bouton(s) and their petit soeur(s) from Animate. So, if you are interested, keep checking this page next week.
This week I went to a movie theatre to watch Oshii Mamoru's latest work, "Innocence". As most of you know, it's a sequel to the Ghost in the Shell movie a few years ago. His recent films aren't exactly my cup of tea so I don't give its details here but at least it is visually stunning. Production I.G did an excellent job ^_^ By comparing it with the GitS movie, you can tell the advance of CG and other techniques and, as the story doesn't particularly go anywhere ^_-, I felt it is more like a powered-up version, rather than a sequel of the GitS movie...
BTW, Yomiuri Shinbun, one of the four major national newspapers, has been advertising this movie very much. Perhaps because of this, Production I.G and its chairman have been covered by quite a few newspapers and magazines. The studio may become another Ghibli in terms of public recognition in a few years.
The second round of the Lilian present has now closed and eight people applied this time. In the mean time, I could add one more copy and thus two people will receive it. And the winners are Harley and dasGod. I should be able to ship the prize in a few days.
Well, it seems the worst time at my work is now over and I can have a little breathing space...
As some of you know, Abe Yoshitoshi had a small exhibition at the Gallery of Fantasy Art (GoFA) last month. It was for about two weeks and the first half was for Haibane Renmei whereas the second half included his works for NieA_7 and Serial Experiments Lain.
I didn't know about the exhibition until it had actually started and couldn't plan my visit very well. So I went to the gallery one early evening for the first part. As those who have ever visited GoFA know, it is a very small place and, thus, the place was "packed" with his artworks. Starting with the small portraits at the entrance of the six girl which were used at the beginning of the Haibane artbook, there were about twenty colour prints nicely framed and the walls between them were occupied with were absolutely covered with his works. Because all of the colour ones were, as far as I could tell, those included in the artbook, those B/L design works were more interesting. It was kind of the Haibane world recreated, with tunes from the OST was played as BGM ^_^
I was hoping to back back to the place to see the second part in a week or so but, because I was so busy, I only managed to go back in the late afternoon on the last day (three hours before I left Tokyo for Osaka ^_^;;). Abe-san was supposed to be there on that day for an autograph session, which was why I wanted to go earlier as the gallery staff had warned that it would be very crowded. She was right. The gallery was full and I had to wait for about 20 minutes to enter. When I was finally admitted, Abe-san was still there after the autograph event, sitting on a chair, pretty laid back (the tickets for the event, BTW, were given on the first day of the exhibition. So I couldn't get it ;_;). I wasn't sure if it was a right thing to do but spoke to him to thank for his help in our Animerica article. Obviously he wasn't interested in talking with me, so I retreated quickly ^_^;;
Anyway, the second part of the exhibition was a little disappointing as the only one third of the exhibits were changed. These included his work for NieA_7 and Lain.
The biggest thing about the exhibition might be that his original watercolour (NOT a print!) was put up for sale. Apparently he made the art for the occasion and the progress of the production was reported through a Mac in the gallery throughout the exhibition. The price was reasonable (Y80,000) but, of course, only one is available. So those who want to buy it must enter a draw. I applied for it with full knowledge that it is extremely unlikely that the opportunity would be given to me. And I was right... ;_;
I'm extremely busy right now (yeah, I cannot even make a comment on ABe-san's exhibition on Haibane) and, those who are waiting my reply to your e-mails, please give me one more week or so. If you could send a reminder to me later next week would be even better ^_^
Also I have one more copy of the special issue of "Lilian Kawaraban" to give away. So, if you want one, send in your entry as given on 18 Jan. The new deadline is 11pm, 9th March 2004 (JST).
Do you know the last name of Sanada-san, the mad chief cat maid of Valkyrie? I don't know. ^_^;;; But then, do you know what's her family name? I had always though it was "Sanada", probably taken from Space Cruiser Yamato but Hydra mentions in one of the character CDs that "Sanada-san" is her family name ^_^;;; If so, it explains why everybody, including Mehm and rough-speaking Hydra, call her so. Yet I cannot decide serious I should take this idea ^_^;;
Animate is currently running a promotional campaign of Mari Mite and giving special bookmarks to those who bought related merchandises. There are five types of the bookmarks featuring three bouton and their petit soeur. The illustrations by Hibiki Reine are extremely cute as the characters are comically deformed. As you can easily guess, I bought enough to secure all the five types ^_^
A few weeks ago I bought the OST of Gallforce Earth Chapter 2. It was surprising enough to find this old CD as an unopened copy but it was more surprising to see a price tag of "$32.00" on its back. So this CD must be exported and then back-imported to Japan...
Mari Mite has turned to be a real killer. It's purely wonderful!! ^_^ "Anata no Kao tte Ochitsuki nai wa ne" (by Sachiko) ^_^;;;
I've been reading novels of Someday's Dreamers. So far two volumes are available and both are really nice. Especially the second one is exquisite. It is set when Yume finished about half of her training course and a very sweet love story. If you like the atmosphere of the anme, you'll love it (provided you can read Japanese). The third one was said to be published this winter but I haven't see in yet. I'm really looking forward to it.
The entry for the Mari Mite newspaper is now closed. Fortunately exactly three people have applied. So all of you (Silver Star, Stuart and The Spatula) will receive it ^_^ BTW, this issue of "Lilian Kawaraban" is supposed to be a special full-colour issue by the Newspaper Club of the Lilian College and its main article is an exclusive coverage of Yumi and Sachiko, reported by Minako with *the* photo by Tsutako ^_^ One of the fun is Ikezwa Haruna has got the same hair style as Yoshino ^_^
It's nearly at the end of January and it is an appropriate time to review shows started this month... it should be. But at the moment I'm really impressed with a little (a few months) older show, "Planetes". I was stupidly unaware of it for a few episodes but it has got attractive characters, a reasonable amount of comedy, good art, stable performance from established seiyuu... In short, wonderful. I'm going to pre-order all the DVDs soon ^_^
Today's surprise. A used CD/DVD shop in Akihabara was selling Yamane Mai's "Invisible Love" CDS (from Black Jack) at Y80 @_@;; This CD has gone out of my reach twice last year on YJA and now....
Last time I mentioned "Warau Michael". I rarely read shoujo manga yet have a few favourites. Apart from those made into anime (such as Greenwood, Boku Tama, Fruit Basket etc), here are some I really love;
Now it's a time for a present. ^_^ I have three spare copies of the Lilian Newspaper, a four-page tabloid-sized free paper of Mari Mite. If you want it, fill the following form and send it to me via e-mail with "MariMite Newspaper" as the subject.
---------------------------------------------------------------------- Name: Nickname (this will be shown on this page when you win): E-mail: Address: Your Favourite Anime: Your Favourite Seiyuu: Comments to Neko-Han-Ten (optional): ----------------------------------------------------------------------
If more than three people want it, the winners will be chosen randomly (by my program). The prize will be sent to you via ordinary airmail and, therefore, I can't be responsible for any mail trouble. The deadline of the application is 10am (JST) 26 Jan 2004.
Just back from the third movie of Inuyasha. Ma annamondeshou...
Let me talk about Mari Mite. It's nearly a week ago when its first episode was aired. I was watching it in real time, rather than seeing it on my HDD recorder. As I watched the OP sequence, the first thing I realised was it's a Cobalt series. Yeah... ^_^;;; I think it was the first brand of novels for juvenile girls, much earlier than boys' counterparts like Fujimi Fantasia. They were very difficult novels *for boys* to buy (just like Anno Hideaki asked his friend to buy Nakayoshi for him to read Sailormoon) ^_^;;;
Anyway, as the show started, the super-polite conversation between the girls immediately reminded me of "Warau Michael (Laughing Michael)", a shoujo manga by Kawahara Izumi whose setting (I mean, the setting only) is rather similar (if you can handle Japanese very well, I'd suggest to read it and compare with Mari Mite). Whatever it sounded like a typical life in "ojousama" high school.
Then, as Yumi goes the Office of Yamayuri-kai, "typical" became "extreme". "Rosa Gigantea en Button"!? They are calling each other with their title... and NOT in Japanese ^_^;;; Beside these over-polite and very diplomatic words from the Roses made me laugh ^_^ This caused my first comment the other day. As the story went on, I began to think if I should take this seriously or not. Then the trailer for the next episode gave me the answer. That was my second comment.
There were some response about the first episode on the net and some of the fans of the novel expressed their concern. So I bought the first volume (of 16 so far ^_^) next day. Now I understand why they aren't perfectly happy. The novel is better.
I'm not against the anime staff, at least for now, for this because novels are always difficult to handle as they can carry far more information. It is impossible to transfer "everything" into anime, which would dismay original fans (that's why I wasn't too happy with the first season of the FMP anime). Indeed there are a lot of things that are omitted in this anime (Eps.1 of the anime roughly covers the first half of the novel Vol.1, which should tell you how much is trimmed). For example, there is a reason why the camera shows their feet on the ground when Yumi meets Akiko for the first time, which are written in the novel.
More importantly (to me), the novel is much more comical than the anime. So, to avoid disappointment, I've decided not to read the novel until the anime is over ^_^
Having said that, I loved this anime (enough to buy a Mari Mite calendar and grab a Mari Mite newspaper ^_^) and this could be a killer series.
"!" or "?" or ..... (after seeing Eps.1 of Juubei-chan 2)
Uwahahahahahahaha~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (after seeing the all of Eps.1 of Mari Mite ^_^;;;)
Uwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (after seeing the first half of Eps.1 of Mari Mite ^_^;;;)
I'm back in Tokyo after New Year's holiday, which has been a good one. For those who has been waiting for my reply to their e-mails, please give me a few more days.
During the holiday I managed to watch a few of my accumulated DVDs and finally finished Piano and almost finished Witch Hunter Robin. The former continues to be very relaxing. If you are one of those bored people who have been reading this section ^_^;;, you must know that I love shows where nothing happens, no, precisely speaking, where things that only matter to very few people are carefully described. Piano was one of such anime ^_^ BTW, is it only me but Fujishima Kousuke's characters really looks like those of Takada Akemi on cels (I mean, they are distinct in their original form).
On the other hand, WH Robin is getting more and more tense and serious. I mean, it's so serious Doujima has stopped using her Kansai accent ^_- BTW, the R2 DVDs of Robin have interviews with the main cast at the end of each volume and they turn out to be better than similar interviews in other series. This may be because the show doesn't describe everything, leaving many things untold (like Haibane Renmei), and opinions/views of the seiyuu gave me interesting insights into the show.... Of course, I might be reading too much from nothing.
I also watched Chibits (Special Edition of Chobits) as well. It was a fun and all my sympathy goes to poor Kotoko ^_^;;
In recent years, I rarely watched OVAs (R.O.D was a notable exception). But there are two right now which look interesting. The first one is Angel Rabby. It seems to be a typical cute-girl comedy but its theme song in the TV ad is so catchy I'm pretty tempted ^_^ I'm pretty sure it won't be a masterpiece but it could be a good fun. The other one is Portrait of Cossette (or "Le Portrait de Petit Cossette"). I didn't know anything about it until I saw its promotion DVD Vol.0 at a shop the other day. It caught my attention because the cover said "Music by Kajiura Yuki" in a big font. As it wasn't very expensive, I bought it right away. Anyway it is seems to be a psycho-horror with "Goth-Loli" flavour. Directed by Shinbou Akiyuki, the visual reminded me of Soul Taker a lot. As you expect, Kajiura's music would be perfect for such a show. So it seems really interesting and I'm keenly waiting for its release. My only concern is that it's very short (three episodes); I wonder how they manage to develop the story and give it a decent ending at the same time.