One of the shows I'm most enjoying this season is Mamoru-kun ni Megami no Shukufuku o. It's a light-hearted love-comedy with lots of care-free characters. I'm not say it's "the best" but I cannot resist this type of the show. As you may know, the heroine is (or should be) a typical 'tsundere' girl but the anime version removed the 'tsun' part from Ayako (compared with the original novel series) and the anime is a 'mega-dere' show now. ^_^;; Here two of my most favourite seiyuu, Mikako and Saeko, work together, which is somewhat a rare case. Also Mamiko as Shione is pretty funny.
Speaking of Shione, there is something which I have been wanting to say for some time; it's her way of speech. She uses 'mashi' or 'mashina' for a polite order/request/suggestions. For example, 'Mamoru-san, tetsudatte kudasai mashi na' means "Mamoru-san, help me, please." Unlike some other anime characters' cases such as Digiko's 'nyo' and Tsuruya-san's 'megassa' (BTW, Emerentia's "Broccoli nyo" was excellent!), it's perfectly correct Japanese but I don't think I've ever heard it in my real life. It's *supposedly* used by elderly high-class ladies who are almost extinct in Japan now. A similar thing can be said about famous 'gomen asobase' and Lamhirh's 'suru ga yoi.' I hope these not-so-common phrases will not affect foreign anime fans in bad way. ^_^;;
A piece of really sad news (to me at least). Angela's annual end-of-year live has been canceled because of Atsuko's illness. All we can hope now is her swift recovery.
Today I visited the Ghibli museum again to see Ghibli's new(ish) film, "Hoshi o Katta Hi" (The Day I Bought a Planet). It was gorgeous! The story is a fantasy for, I'd say, adults and the art quality is excellent. It's a real pity this short film isn't widely available.
Again I'm away from Tokyo now. I think I've been far too busy recently -_-;; Sorry for delay if you're waiting for my reply to your e-mails.
Having said that, I managed to do one big anime-related thing last Friday, KOTOKO's live in Yokohama Arena. Although I'd seen her before (See the entry of 3 Apr 05), it was my first of her live. The venue was very big and I guess there were somewhere between 4~6000 fans there, about 80-90% of which were male.
The event started with "UZU-MAKI," the title song of her new album due out on 13 Dec. She didn't talk too much; nowhere near Atsuko of Angela and even less than Shimamiya Eiko. Instead(?) she changed her costume many times including a shamelessly cute one which she wore the last. ^_^;; Anyway this measn the live was packed with her songs and most of my favourite ones were performed, such as "Chercher," "Being," and "Re-sublimity." One song which I really missed, though, was "Namida no Chikai." ;_;
C.G Mix, an I'VE composer/arranger, made a short appearance during the live and performed two songs with her. Also some other I've girls appeared on the stage at the very last moment to give Kotoko a bunch of flowers, which brought tears in her eyes.
To be very honest, the venue was too big for me. I'd prefer smaller ones I can "feel" the artist(s). Of course it would be difficult to get such opportunities for popular artists like Kotoko. Yet I have to say I enjoyed it. More than three hours of her performance and a long queue for the merchandise after it meant I could barely catch the last direct train home. ^_^;;
Oh, one more important thing. A special CD was given away to all the audience and I'm looking forward to listening to it (yeah, I've been too busy for even such a small task ;_;).
I just saw Episode 1 of the Mari-Mite OVA. After watching it, all I felt is "Oh, I *love* this series after all." ^_^ I had already knew the story and the art quality was not as high as I had hoped. Yet I must say I enjoyed it a lot, including the parody anime (Maria-sama ni wa Naisho). As this episode had a happy and comical ending, Kotoko's cheerful ED song worked really well, too. ^_^
Well, as the novel series is far ahead of the anime now, what this episode means to me has somewhat changed from that when I read the novel of the episode. That is, Touko's attitude means completely different now and I suspect the anime staff had in their mind what would happen in the future.
One thing I, a Niigata native, have to make a comment is that the rice Yumi's mother sent is Koshihikari from Uonuma in Niigata, which is regarded as *the* best rice in Japan. Just try searching it to purchase and compare its price with that for the rice you can buy at your local store. You'll understand what I mean ^_^
Since I mentioned about my trip to Okinawa, two of regular visitors to this site (or my friends ^_^;;) have sent me e-mails. The first one said that Kaolla of Love Hina might be from the area and the second one thought Motoko might be so. As you probably know, both are wrong. It's Mutsumi who are from Okinawa ^_^;; I have to admit that I forgot about her completely when I wrote the entry. Yet it was funny to receive these two independent mails about Love Hina. ^_^
Speaking of my trip, I didn't say much about one to Beijing. It was a business trip as usual and I didn't have much free time. But at least I can say I enjoyed my stay there a lot. The modernisation of China (or Beijing) turned out be far more advanced than I had imagined. Some parts are not so different from their Tokyo counterparts. Of course, there were other parts which satisfied my expectation about what China would be ^_^;;
My hotel had a CATV and offered more than 50 channels but very few
showed foreign animation. Their government is reported to be keen to
grow the local animation industry and has banned foreign anime from the
evening time slot. To be honest, the art quality of the local anime was
still very poor although I cannot comment about their story/performance
quality as I don't understand a bit of spoken Chinese. Whatever, I saw
to Japanese anime; "Chuuka Ichiban" and "Cat's Eye." The former is easy
to understand but I was rather surprised to see the latter under such a
Other anime-related interesting things were a visit to the Imperial Palace (or the Forbidden City). One of the museum (well, the Palace itself can be regarded as one big museum but let's ignore it) had various items from old dynasties, among which was a set of 12 jade figures of calendar animals (mouse, cow, tiger etc). They were very cute and reminded me so much of Fruit Basket I bought a rabbit one a few days later. ^_^ Also the audio guide told me that one the major buildings in the Palace was used for the welcome ceremony for new officers who had passed the tough entrance exams. It exactly looked like one where Shuurei (Saiunkou Monogatari) had the ceremony. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to get into the inside to mimic the ceremony. ^_^;;
I'm now back in Tokyo. This is just to announce that the winner of the Shimamiya booklet is natto from Malaysia.
Hello from Naha. As you may know, it is the capital city of Okinawa Prefecture, the south western islands of Japan. I'm here just for business but have been able to enjoy its unique culture and food. Yes, they are very different from so-called Japanese culture and food. I cannot read names of many (or most of) places and I've eaten so many dishes I've never had in my life. So, if you ever see someone from the area, please respect their own culture and history and never think it is "just a part of Japan."
Okinawa doesn't have too much to do with anime with a few exceptions; Full Metal Panic and Rahxephone are the only ones I can think of right now. But it has produced so some J-Pop stars, including Amuro Anime and Kiroro.
Sorry for the delay about the Shimamiya booklet. I'll announce the result as soon as I go back to Tokyo.
Hello again from yet another overnight experiments...
I recently listened to the latest Mari-Mite theme song by KOTOKO. When I heard the announcement of its release (see the entry of 12 Aug), I wasn't very sure what kind of song I should expect or if her and I've style would fit the series. But the song has turned out to be MUCH nicer than my expectation and I'm now greatly looking forward to her live next months. ^_^
Speaking of Mari-Mite, the latest volume of the novel finally revealed the secret of Touko. It was a big surprise, at least to me, but it was also nice that Noriko offered her helping hand to her, or more precisely, that it was Noriko's hand that Touko at last grabbed for help. The next volume may settle the relationship between Touko and Yumi.
A sad piece of news today was that Mutou Reiko has passed away. Probably most of people who visit this site don't know her but she was my favourite in her days. As a big Katri fan, I'm really sad.
Anyway, I'm back in Japan now but leave it later to talk about my stay in China. Now for all Shimamiya Eiko fans, here is a new draw. One person will get the (very expensive ^_^;;) live booklet with a DVD from her latest tour "O". It will come with a little handkerchief with her "E.S." logo. As usual, if you wish to join the draw, send me an e-mail with "[St NHT] Entry for Shimamiya Draw" as the subject. The main text must contain your (a) name, (b) nickname, which will appear on this page if you win, (c) address and (d) e-mail address. The deadline is 20:00 (JST) 8th Nov 2006 (only one entry per person). BTW, please note again as usual that, as this is a free draw, I can't take any responsibility for mail troubles etc.
I went to Shimamiya Eiko's live "O" on Friday evening. It was at a medium-sized live house in Ebisu. As usual, I was pretty late and the venue was full by then with about 300 to 400 people. But it wasn't "packed" and I felt pretty comfortable. Compared with Angela ones, the audience was somewhat older and the men:women ration was probably about 8:2 (later during the live, Eiko said, since the anime version of Higurashi no Naku koro ni had started, she began to receive fan mails from junior high and high school students and saw a few at the Nagoya live escorted by their parents). ^_^
The live started with higurashi no naku koro ni and gudou no hito and she appeared with a mask on her face just like the jacket photo of "O" (again later she said the mask has absolutely nothing to do with the content of the album but was used to give the photo a strong impact. She went on to say that she might appear with something else on her next album, too, and someone in the audience shouted, "Neko-mimi, please!!" ^_^;;;).
The songs were mostly chosen from "O" with a few exception like All Alone and Ulysses. During the concert I realized or noticed that her songs in "O" have rather long intermissions and wondered if she did it on purpose for each arrangers to show his/her colour more freely.
Not surprisingly Eiko was much less talkative that seiyuu and singers like Atsuko ^_- but did a good amount of interesting/informative/funny talk (sorry if you already know these). (i) The name of the main song "O" came from the French word "eau" and the song is inspired by the legend of Noah's Ark. (ii) Kotoko's performance at the I've Budoukan Live last year made her want to write a cheerful song to which the audience can wave their arms. But no one asked her to write such (this reminded me of Katakura Mikiya (ALI Project) in a very short chat with me ^_^;;) so did it herself to create egao o misete. (iii) She actually went to Australia to see ulysses and saw it three times when all other people who went with her failed (that is, they saw twice ^_^;;). (iv) She avoided Takase Kazuya (this must be a joke ^_^;;) and asked Iuchi Maiko to arrange two most feminine songs in the album.
She ended the evening with Recovery, arranged by Isshiki Yui, who also wrote hyouketsu no yoru, Eiko's first ever song with I've. She talked about how she joined I've in its early days. I didn√’ know about it and now am very proud of my ownership of this rare CD.
She came back to the stage and finally ended with egao o misete and I'm sure she was very happy to see hundreds of arms swung to her song. ^_^
Well, the live was over but she was going to have another "acoustic" one on Saturday. I really wanted to go but couldn't as I had to leave Japan next morning. ;_; Yeah, I'm writing this in Beijing, China. ^_^
PS. Those who have been long enough on this page may suspect... yes, one lucky person will receive something nice. ^_- Wait until I go back to Japan.
One of the shows(?) I'm currently interested in is Kimikiss. I think it's a PS2 dating game but am not 100% sure as I hardly play computer games. Anyway it came to my attention through its big advertising campaign before the release. But it didn't leave too much impression on me at that time. It was a series of mini-posters which I later saw on the wall of Animate Akihabara that changed my impression. The girls, or more precisely the character design looked so attractive I had to hunt down where the posters came from (they were on display only, that is, not for sale). The game appears to be pretty popular and I hope it will be made into anime. ^_^
I finally watched the live-action movie of Honey and Clover and it was better than I expected. Packing such a long story into a two-hour film requires a lot of omission and change of course but the essence of the story was maintained, IMO. I had thought Hagu would be very difficult to play but Aoi Yuu did it really well. Nishida Naomi as Rika was nice, too. Of course, you cannot forget the music by Kanno Youko. But I really missed one thing; Ayumi's "heel drop". ^_^;;
The new TV series of Negima started today (it is essentially a remake and the story starts from the very beginning again). Well, my first impression is that it's totally different from the first series and, because of the staff, it reminded me of Pani Poni Dash! a lot. Shinbou-san's taste comes forward a lot and the narration by Mugihito adds to it. ^_^;; I am yet to decide the change is better or worse but the new character design will take some time for to get used to it.
Remaking a *recent* TV series with another one had never happened before (ignore old shows like, say, Cutey Honey. IIRC, the first one was Maid in Hanaukyo). But this October we see the new version of Negima and Kanon. I wonder what is the reason for this new trend.
After a lot of struggle, the CATV at my place has been upgraded to a digital one, which should deliver me better quality images with more stability. Now I need to get a recorder and TV set for HDTV. ^_^
One of the shows I recently watched is Bokura ga Ita. It's a nice little show with a gentle mood and a comfortably speedy storytelling by Daichi Akitarou. The show changes the ED song every episode and has come up with a nice list so far and... I know it's impossible... yet... I wish we could have had one from Okazaki Ritsuko. I'm absolutely sure her song would have been perfect for the show, just as her works in Fruit Basket.
If you're coming to Japan for Christmas holiday and want to go to Angela's annual live, I might be able to help you to get a ticket. Let me know by Wednesday.
As you may know, Miyazaki Aoi, who voiced Yume in Someday's Dreamer is now a big actress in Japan. Recently she was announced to play the heroine of NHK's 'Taiga Drama' (the most prestigious TV Drama in Japan) next year. I wish she might come back to do some more anime work in the future.
I mentioned about a change in the OP of Tona Gura! a few weeks ago. Now it's Aria the Natural. They slightly modified the ED sequence after Eps.18 (that is, after Aika's accident). Have you noticed? Speaking of Aria, the second season has become much better and I enjpy it very much now. ^_^
I'm back now. As a fan of ABe-san, I had a really enjoyable time at Anime Fest. Now I have to track down *that thing* ^_- Also thank you to all those who kindly came to my panel. I hope I didn't bore you badly. ^_^;;
I'll be away from home for about 10 days. So there won't be much update here. See you at AnimeFest (if you can)! ^_^
The decision over the status of the Pluto as a "planet" by the International Astronomical Union made big news here in Japan, too. One has to wonder what kind of feelings the Sailor Soldiers have. ^_- Besides I wonder if they are allowed to air the show on TV for the future without any modification as it could spread a "wrong idea" in kids. ^_^;; Seriously similar things *have* happened before. A few TV anime shows were modified to remove "inappropriate things" which was appropriate when it was aired for the first time...
Recently my favourite novel series "O RI GA MI" came to an end. It's a comedy, where a poor seemingly-ordinary girl was chosen to be a potential heir to the daemon king to control the dark side of the world (to be honest, this simple description is extremely misleading ^_^;;). The series has a long list of supportive characters so powerful that the heroine Suzuran often fades away ^_^ Mi-ko, Ripple-Rapple, Suiren, Saho, Clarica, Ritsuko... oh, I'd love to see them as anime! I hear they are making a web radio program for it, which may be enough for me to have a faint hope of an anime series in the future.
Just watched Eps.7 of Tona Gura!. Did anyone notice that the OP has changed? ^o^;;;;;;
One of the shows I currently enjoy is Tona Gura! As you may know, it's a typical love-comedy with a lot of fan-service. In this type of the shows, its success on me heavily relies on how charming the characters are. Here three pairs of relationship ( (a) Kazuki & Hatsune (b) Kazuki & Chihaya and (c) Marie & Nina) entertain me very much. In addition, although it does not have much to do with the story, the pair of Hatsune and Marie is another fun as it's a re-creation of the Aria Company. ^_-
Last Sunday I went to "Maria-sama ga Miteru Summer Festival." It was my first experience of this type of events, that is, held for a certain series rather than artists (musicians, seiyuu, manga artists etc). The venue was a relatively large public hall with a capacity of a little more than one thousand. It was to start at 7pm, pretty late for this kind of thing, but actually delayed even late; about 20 minutes for some reason.
When the curtain finally rose, all ten ladies were standing on the stage in a line in yukata ^_^ ("ten" means three sets of former roses, roses and boutons + Touko) and started reading a story; an original story where Yumi suggests Sachiko to go to 'natsu matsuri' (summer festival) for their local area. But Yumi soon finds out it isn't only Sachiko who comes to the festival... It was very interesting to see their performance because I felt as if we were at a recording studio of anime or a drama CD. The story itself was very comical and well-written. The one-sided rivalry of Noriko against Sei was really funny. ^_^
Then a talk show followed, where Megumi took the charge of the presenter. First they surprised Emi and Hitomi with a birthday cake for them. There was a message written with chocolate on the cake: "Happy Birthday, Former Rosa Chinensis. Happy Birthday, Former Rosa Foetida." ^_^ Then they talked about what they had been doing recently with photos they had been asked to take for the occasion. There were various things like a family holiday in a southern island (Miki), drinking party (Shizuka), bowling (Hitomi), firework festival (Kana) etc. An interest one was Mamiko's. She showed a photo of three bags of snacks and said she regularly ate them after midnight. As these snacks are to go with beer, it implies she enjoys midnight drinking ^_^;;
During the talk, I got an impression that Miki was really mischievous and ready to put jokes in her comments whenever possible. As Sachiko is a serious character and Miki doesn't have much opportunity to make a funny comment, she seems to enjoy this kind of event even more. In this context, roles like Taiga (Fate/stay night) and Asa (Shuffle!) may be closer to her real character. It was also interesting to note that, when Miki went out of control, it was only Emi among the ladies who could stop her, not surprisingly given their age and career so far (in fact, she mentioned their old "collaboration." I think she meant Project A-ko ^_^).
The event went on to a talk about the new OVA series and there were voice message from Kotoko, who are going to two ED songs for the OVA series. Then they did a mini game where the three rose families compete against each other.
When the event was about to end there was a big surprise. Suddenly the preparatory pictures of Kanako appeared on the screen, followed by a few key phrases by her through the speakers. Of course, everyone in the seats was fanatically looking around to find out who's doing the voice. Eventually Megumi introduced their new member; Koshimizu Ami. Ami came to the stage and said a few word her impression of Kanako and hope over the OVA series.
They finished the show with continuation of the story reading. It ended elegantly so that the last scene matched the image on the mini poster we were given at the entrance.
Anyway it was a really nice occasion and I had a good laugh and felt very happy on my way home. ^_^
Today's surprise: I saw the OST of the Dirty Pair OST for sale at a used CD shop for the first time. I wonder how long it will stay in the shop. ^_-
Another Akiba news. Horie Yui recently released a DVD of her live performance. A DVD shop which is my main source has a real costume she wore in the concert on display now. I'm sure Yui fans would love to look at it. ^_^
It's now August and in the middle of the summer holidays for students. Consequently many anime-related things are happening now (the biggest one must be Comike). Not being a student, it's a hard time to fit many things into weekends.
I went to a mini live by Savage Genius last weekend. The venue happened to be the same live house as where Ayane and Murata Ayumi had a similar one (see the entry of 23 Jul). There were more people this time with higher proportion of women. The live started with "Omoi o Kanadete," one of my favourites. After another song, they invited a guest to the stage; Kakishima Shinji (aka Kacky, a musician who arranged a few songs for the duo). As in the event a week before, Aa did the most of the talk with Kacky while Takumi remained very quiet. ^_^;; Aa seemed a bit nervous at first and made a mistake in the order of the songs. ^_^;; A funny thing is that she said, after her exposure in live events, many of her fans were shocked by her lively Kansai accent. ^_^;; To be honest, it is certainly true that the Kansai accent is the last thing to match the transparent world of their songs. ^_^;; Anyway they sang about eight songs in roughly-an-hour-long event.
After the live, I went to watch "Toki o Kakeru Shoujo." It is a new anime movie based on a novel by Tsutsui Yasutaka. The novel is pretty well-known in Japan and have been visualised several times before, the first of which was a live-action TV series on NHK in 70's. It was an excellent mystery but now almost a legend now because hardly any film of the series now exist (that is, only those who watched it at that time like me know about it). Anyway this time they made it into an anime for the first time.
Actually I first went to the cinema a week before. I had expected an empty theatre, typical to minor anime movies, but there was a long queue in front of the theatre and only standing space was left. So I gave up. This time it was full again but I was ready to wait for later showing and booked a seat for the last one. So I went to shopping (of what? ^_-) to kill time later and came back to the theatre to find the queue was even longer. One of the staff was shouting "The theatre is absolutely full! Please don't join the queue any more!" I passed the side of the queue with my prebooked ticket. ^_^
The movie was excellent, really excellent. They made a big change both in characters and story and it worked really well. The thrilling mystery I watched on TV and love a long time ago is now a fantastic bittersweet love story. It's been quite some time since I last felt "I must come back to watch it again" but it was such a film. If you have a chance to watch in in a theatre, rather than on TV, I strongly recommend it.
Next day I went to watch a live-action film "Warau Michael." It turned out be so far beyond my expectation I'm not sure if it is a good or bad film. At least it is clear if you're not familiar with the original manga, you shouldn't watch it. If you want to know more detail, send me an e-mail.
Just watched the first episode of "Chevalier." It's incredibly fast-developing I almost thought it was a digest. Whatever it has a similar flavour to that of "Blood+" (is this the current trend of Production IG?) and, if you liked the latter, you'll like the former, I suppose.
I went to an event of Savage Genius to promote their first album. They performed two songs "Butterfly" and "Forever..." with some talk in between. It was my first time to see and hear them (except their songs) and pretty interesting. Takumi is very quite while Aa was pretty talkative. It may be similar to Katsu and Atsuko ^_^;; One thing I noticed (or didn't know) is Aa's Kansai dialect. You know, I love their songs but never checked their web site or fan sites for them. So I didn't know they are from Kobe. As usual the event ended with hand-shaking and autographing and I managed to ask As about the origin of her nickname and request Takumi to perform "Koigokoro" (probably in vain) at their live next week.
After the event I dropped in at Aminate and found a foreign family. They obviously sounded like British and seemed they didn't know what they were trying to buy. So I talked to them, hoping to help them out. I was right; they were from England and they had come to the shop for their nice who seems to a proper otaku. What surprised me, though, was they were from Leeds. What a coincidence! ^_^ Anyway I suggested them what to buy and I sincerely hope their niece will like them.
This month's "Ke-tai Oogiri" (see the entry of 24 June about the program) had Tsukino Usagi or Mitsuishi Kotono as a guest. The theme given was what Sailormoon would say when she has fed up saying "I'll punish you in the name of the Moon" ^_^;; (sadly there wasn't any answer which satisfied me but that doesn't matter here). When her theme was over, she was asked some comments about the program. After she said a few words, she made a killer comment, "Service! Service!" ^_^
Speaking of seiyuu jokes, I forgot to mention one thing about "Joshikousei - Girl's High." The show has a parody sequence of various anime and they picked MariMite for Eps.8. Did you notice two of the six "roses" had the real voice? ^_-
Today I received an e-mail from AT-X Shop, announcing the released of Air TV series on Blu-ray DVDs. Well, I've suspected this kind of news but it certainly makes me even more cautious about what DVDs I will buy in coming days...
One of the anime I recently enjoyed is Joshikousei - Girl's High. When I had heard of it, I thought it would be just a fan-serving show and didn't watch for some time. But the first episode was enough to tell me I was wrong. Its motto, 'obaka de gehin,' really describes it (one can roughly translate it as "stupid and vulgar" but it fails, I think, to convey the mood). It was a good slapstick comedy by high school girls like "Azumanga Daiou" and "Pani Poni Dash!" but with really 'gehin' jokes. Eps 2 was typical; I can imagine the seiyuu girls had a good laugh in the studio during the recording. ^_^
"Joshikousei" wasn't the only 'gehin' show of the season. Inukami! is worse with lots of elephants. ^_^;; As one can expect, the novel is even more extreme. The TV anime is much milder than the novel. For example, Youko says about Kei's age in Eps 12 "I thought she is a little older than Tomohane." In the novel Keita adds his comment which completely changes the meaning of Youko's words but it was politely removed in the anime. ^_^;; Also there is one episode which, I think, is too indecent to be aired. Yet, when I saw the preview of Eps.8, I thought it is this particular episode and shouted "Hey, you can't show it on TV!". Fortunately(?) I was wrong and it turned out to be a different episode from the novel. ^_^;;
"Zero no Tsukaima" has just started. It's one of the novels like "Suzumiya Haruhi" which my colleagues recommended to me and became my favourite. When I saw a picture of the anime version of Louise on a flyer, I was very surprised as it is so different from the original. I knew Usatsuka-san's style isn't really suitable for anime but even so... The first episode was good enough to persuade me to watch more but far from matching the quality (and impact ^_^;;) of Haruhi Eps.1. Whatever, I'm looking forward to Siesta, Henrietta and hopefully Tifania. *^_^*
Speaking of the Haruhi anime, it ended a few days ago (a few minutes before "Zero" started). The series kept its high quality to the end. If you haven't read the novel, I suggest you to watch the series all over again after watching through to the final episode. You may find something new. For example, you can understand why Haruhi stopped changing Mikuru's hairstyle during the baseball match (Eps.4).
BTW, sometime ago I said about the timeline of this anime "as we will probably see in the future episodes, its timeline (or time paradox) is one of the key features of the series." Well, we didn't see after all ^_^;; The anime didn't go far enough to describe anything about what happened "three years ago" to change Haruhi and the world. I'm sure more anime will come and *strongly* hope they will at least go as far as "Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu."
I'm running out the disk space of this site and wondering what to do. I knew it's near the limit and suspended the update about artbooks for some time but it seems I have to do something about it soon. If you have any suggestion about a good low-cost web hosting service, please let me know by e-mails. I don't need a huge disk space or fancy service but don't want to spend much for this purely voluntary work. If someone want to make a donation for this site to be upgraded, that would make things different ^_-
I'm watching Ke-tai Oogiri, a monthly program NHK. It's a live variety show where audience will sent in their "one-phrase" joke under given themes via internet. It seems pretty popular as the 50-minute show attracts more than 100,000 entries. The reason I mention it here is one of the themes is chosen from an anime character and the seiyuu who voiced him/her comes to the studio to read the jokes. For example, tonight's second theme was "What Lum said to surprise Ataru?" and all the jokes were read by Hirano Fumi. So far, people like Kamiya Akira (Kenshirou) and Hidaka Noriko (Asakura Miname) have been invited to read jokes and I'm really looking forward to future guests. ^_^
Just watched Eps.11 of Haruhi. I was surprised to see who wrote the screenplay for the episode; Gatou Shouji, the author of the original novel series of Full Metal Panic. IIRC, he used to write scenario for games (the exact location of Merida Island is one example to show it). I wonder if this is just one-off thing or he will do this more anime screenplay in the future.
Speaking of Haruhi, one of the things "lost in the translation" from the novel to the anime is my favourite phrase by Yuki in Eps.10. When a few arrows pierce her during the battle against Asakura Ryouko, she says to Kyon 'Heiki' (I'm all right). Yuki says so in the anime, too, but she says so *in hiragana* in the novel. Of course, this can't be reproduced by sound but it "sounded" so cute in the novel. ^_^;;;
I went to a "Secret Live" of Ayane and Murata Ayumi this evening. They are well-known singers in the PC game fandom but, as I hardly play computer games, I really didn't know about them too much (especially Ayumi). It was the OP song of the anime version of "W Wish" which brought Ayane's name to my attention. I liked the two songs on the maxi very much and had a go with OP and ED songs of "Memories Off" and I fell in love with her style.
Anyway the live today was held a small live house at Shibuya and it was full with about 100 "guests" (the tickets were given to some of those who bought their recent CDs). Not surprisingly almost all of them were men (I saw only few women). Ayumi came out first to start the live. I hadn't know anything about her except the ED song of Lamune and so was very surprised to find out she is a really pretty girl. No wonder she is popular. She sang about 10 songs, including "Summer Vacation," and finished her session with "Shining Star." Near the end of the song Ayane appeared on the stage to join the song.
Then there was a surprise guest. Their 'Sachou' came up to the stage. No, it wasn't a blue-eyed cat but a gentleman called Shikura Chiyomaru ^_^;;;; He and the two ladies talked on the stage for some time and the most interesting bit was an idea to create a unit of the two singers. Ayumi even joked to propose the name of the unit to be "Tiaraway 2" ^o^;;;;;
After that, the stage was given to Ayane. She started the occasion with "Kizuna." It seems she isn't as good at talking as at singing and had some problems with her chat between the songs. But who cares? ^_- It's her songs which brought me to the place. She also sang about 10 songs, some of which I didn't know (yeah, my CD-hunting will re-start next week ^_-). At the end, Ayumi came back to the stage and they sang "Romacing Story" together to finish the live. I felt "the unit" they mentioned earlier might realise soon.
Two months after the new season, I have a pile of DVD-RAMs to be watched. There have been so many new shows it is practically impossible for a relatively busy working man to catch up with all of them...
Even so, there are two shows which turned out to be much better than my expectation (let's exclude Haruhi here; it's exceptional). One is Yoshinaga-san Chi no Gargoyle. It's almost a kid show and there is nothing spectacular about it. Yet its simple and touching story and the charming characters make the show a great fun to watch ^_^
The other one is Saiunkoku Monogatari. I had expected it to be serious fantasy like Juuni-kokuki. But the first episode was so comical I wondered how close the anime was to the original novel. So I bought its first volume, which turned out to be even more comical. ^_^;; The writing style reminded me of the MariMite novel and, if you like the latter, you may want to try this one as well. Another charm of the show is Kuwashima Houko. I really love her as an cheerful, energetic and comical character (like Yurika) but she doesn't get such roles so often these days ;_;
One of the things I bought recently is Haibane Renmei DVD COG.00. I knew of its existence for a long time but it's so expensive I didn't get it. Then it was mentioned in Abe's Scenario Collection Vol.5, which made me really want to watch it, and I finally I found a slightly damaged copy at a reasonable price (well, probably not reasonable for non-Japanese otaku).
The main content is a very short promo movie of the anime. It's not a patchwork of scenes from early episodes; there are many cuts I had never seen and it's an interesting material, along with the Scenario Collections, to guess how the story developed in his mind. So, after all, the DVD is worth the money... at least to me. ^_^;;;;
Here is the result of the giveaway draw;
|1||Angela Live Booklet||Jumbo|
|2||Angela "Prhythm" Penlight||Spatula|
|3||New Aria OP||Yuki Kanou|
|4||New Aria ED||Kaworu|
|5||Lilian Kawaraban||Big Blah|
Please give me a couple of weeks to ship the items.
Someone recently asked me about the timeline of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu. It is certainly confusing and there are three reasons for it, I think. First, as we will probably see in the future episodes, its timeline (or time paradox) is one of the key features of the series. Second, just like Slayers, the novel was originally written as a one-off (stand-alone) story and other volumes were added later, many of which describe what happened before the contents of earlier episodes. And, third, the anime crew shuffled the episodes again to add to the confusion.
Yet one thing I noticed recently is that the episode number which Haruhi shouts (and immediately gets corrected by Kyon) in the previews corresponds their order in which they appear in the novel. ^_^ This might help a little those who are trying to enjoy the series without reading the novel.
This is an old piece of news but Robo One has announced that they are going to have their competition in space in 2010 (http://www.robo-one.com/sp/). I suppose there will be a huge amount of works to be done to achieve it, but it would be great if this event really happens. Even if you're not interested in the event, you should watch the promo movie created by Sunrise (yeah), which strongly reminds me of Angelic Layer. The world's progress may be faster than the anime world assumes.
One of the shows I recently finished is REC. In this show Aka keeps saying she want to become Audrey Hepburn. Given that she is in the seiyuu business, it should mean she wants to be like Ikeda Masako... Do you understand this? Here in Japan, many famous foreign movie stars are linked to specific seiyuu. Arguably the most famous example is Clint Eastwood and Yamada Yasuo. Likewise Audrey Hepburn has been almost always voiced by Ikeda Masako (if you don't know her name, you can't call yourself a big anime fan ^_-). You can see one example in a short TV ad of a bank.
Now a totally different issue. I have a few things to give away; (i) Angela Live 2006 Booklet (ii) Angela "Prhythm" Penlight" (iii) a maxi CD of "Euforia" (the new Aria OP) (iv) a maxi CD of "Natsumachi" (the new Aria ED) and (v) Lilian Kawaraban for the third season of MariMite as a set of two issues.
If you wish to join the draw, send me an e-mail as usual with "[St NHT] Entry for Draw" as the subject. The main text must contain your (a) choice of the item, (b) name, (c) nickname, which will appear on this page if you win, (d) address and (e) e-mail address. The deadline is 20:00 (JST) 9th May 2006 (only one entry per person). BTW, please note that, as this is a free draw, I can't take any responsibility for mail troubles etc.
Yesterday evening I popped in one of my regular CD shops to buy a few (well, actually 18) CDs. There were a few people doing something odd at the entrance and one of them turned out to be Nozomi of Little Non. They were there to promote their new CD, which is pretty common in Akihabara, but what surprised me was they were doing it just with a 'nobori' (flag) of Little Non. That is, there were no stage, PA system or even additional lights. A few of them were shouting loud something like "Little Non's new CD is available now!" while Nozomi was handing out. I knew some young seiyuu and musicians do this kind of unplanned "guerilla" promotions but I had never seen it before. It was quite interesting. ^_^
"Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu" has been excellent so far ^_^ They have made slight changes to the story but the speedy development has worked very well. In terms of the casting, Hirano Aya fits Haruhi much better than I thought. Kyon is also great. Mikuru and Yuki are different from what I expected but they are OK. I'm really looking forward to the future episodes.
On the other hand, Aria the Natural, the other show with my highest expectation for the season, hasn't been quite up to my expectation. When I heard the show start in April, just three months after the first season, I felt it was a little too early. Watching the first episode, there were two points with which I wasn't satisfied. (a) The art quality wasn't as high. (b) The story was a bit too much of (unrealistic) fantasy. I love the show because it reveals small jewels in our daily life. Occasional fantasy episodes are fine but I don't want them to be the main feature.
Now that seeing Eps 2 and 3, I feel somewhat better. I've realised at least some of (a) came from the fact that they've changed character design, probably more faithful to the original by Amano Kozue. Also these two episodes are closer to my taste in terms of (b). So things appear to be better but yet I'm reluctant to say it is as good as the first season.
Speaking ARIA, it suddenly occurred me a couple of months ago how much those all ARIA items (DVDs, CDs, manga, artbooks, T-shirts etc) I had bought cost me in total. It turned out, including those DVDs preordered, to be about $1000. ^_^;;; I thought it was a large amount and decided to do something about it. That is, to recover some of it, I bought a couple of shares of Mag Garden, the publisher of the manga. Well, I was extremely lucky as their price went up by about 30% just in two weeks. So it's even now ^o^;;;
BTW, I'm in the middle of another 24-hour long experiment. At the lunch time I found a small white cat near the restaurant on the site and realised it has blue eyes! Of course, I named it "Shachou" ^_^;;
Last week Bandai Visual announced the first DVD release later this year of the original Gundam series as two boxes, which made quite a big impact. But to me, another piece of news they announced at the same time was more important; their acquisition of Lantis. It might be another attempt of the Bandai group to go into the music industry (do you remember Bandai Music? ^_^;;).
Totally a different thing. As you know, there are tons of anime-related merchandise available in Japan. Many of them are very silly but occasionally one finds... or I find items so silly I cannot help buying. ^_^;; A recent example is a set of curry reproduced from Eps.5 of Gokujou Seitokai. Oh, I love this kind of products ^_^;;
One of the seiyuu who seem getting popular is Hirano Aya. The first show which brought her name to my mind was Tail of Angels where she sounded very childish yet matched the shy young girl. Since then her acting and singing are improving steadily, IMO. Today there was a small event to promote her first solo CD but I couldn't make it because another event was taking place at the same time (I found this out *after* I got the ticket ;_;). I may be able to see her in some Haruhi-related events some day.
The other event I mentioned above is the Angela live ^_^ It was the last stage of their first tour "Prhythm" and held at Shibuya AX, where they had the "Complete" Live (the one on the DVD) just a year ago. This time my ticket had a relatively young number and I secured a position pretty close to the stage (that is, within the range of Katsu's water cannon ^_^;;). IIRC, this was my fifth occasion of their live and there have been some changes in the audience; more young people and more women.
The live was as entertaining as usual but there were a few new/different things. (1) They had a new bassist in the band, who seems to have extremely unique character. ^_^;; (2) The intermission, which had been used to show some video footage etc previously, was allocated for the back musicians to show their skills off. They were excellent and the violin version of "Happy Material" by Kana was a great fun ^_^ (3) For the first time AFAIK, they made a concert booklet to sell for the occasion. (4) Also in addition to the booklet and usual towels/t-shirts/CDs etc, the shop had a multi-colour pen-light in relation to "Prism" to be used along with some songs. They were pretty effective, IMO.
Well, you may guess what you will see in the next entry on this page ^_-
Just watched Eps.1 of "Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu." I was very surprised because they chose a side story for the introduction. That is, even though there are a few key lines in it, the episode wouldn't have made much meaning for those who don't know the novel. Oh, I enjoyed it very much. Both the character design and casting are good enough and I'm looking forward to more episode. BTW, the theme song of the movie (NOT the anime) by Mikuru was funny. Yuuko is never a good singer but here she did a good job to act as Mikuru, who was forced to sing it against her will (as you may know, Mikuru's will means absolutely nothing to Haruhi ^_^;;). Her purposely bad performance reminded me of the promotion version of the ED song of Nadesico by Yurika (or Kuwashima Houko).
It's the end of March... or the end of many anime series. One of them is Rakugo Ten'nyo Oyui. I have to say there is nothing special about it except that it was created with full collaboration with Rakugo Geijutsu Kyoukai, the official association of Edo Rakugo (there are two main stream of rakugo in Japan; Edo Rakugo in the Tokyo area and Kamigata Rakugo in the Osaka area). Consequently not only there are lots of Rakugo-related jokes/items in the show but every episode has some Rakugoka (rakugo artists) as seiyuu. Besides the first two episodes feature real Rakugoka; Katsura Utamaru and San'yuutei Koyuuza, the President and Vice President of the association, respectively (Compare the photos in the linked pages with the characters in the anime ^_-). Not too surprisingly both of them were voiced by themselves but what surprised me was they brought Fujiko-san, Utamaru's wife, into the show as well. She is not a public figure (I've never seen her) but, because he and his colleagues make a fun of her in their talk, she is very well-known among casual rakugo lovers like me. I wish they had brought her to voice the character herself but I suppose it would have been "asking too much."
First, have a look at this report in The Daily Yomiuri (in Japanese). As you may have guessed, the photo is about Akihabara. BUT it is not so-called a maid cafe but a blood-donation centre run by.... the Japanese Red Cross Society!!
Here in Japan, human blood are forbidden to be sold and the entire supply of it for medical use depends on donation by the public. But, for various reasons, it is getting increasingly difficult to secure enough amount these days. So, the Red Cross, which is practically only authorised organisation for the purpose, has been tried various things to persuade more people to donate their blood and they thought the service by a maid would fit their Akihabara branch very well. I have to agree with them as I, who cannot donate my blood due to my stay in England (ie BSE), am quite tempted to visit the centre. ^_^;;
Yesterday I went to two small anime-related events. </P>
The first one was by Shimizu Ai to promote her ED song of Kagihime Monogatari. There were about 150 people, almost all of them were men (there were about five women). It started with her talk, which was typical to seiyuu talks and failed to interest me a lot. The only information which interested me was that she apparently enjoys writing and wrote a short (a little yuri-ish ^o^;;;) novel for a doujinshi last year. Then she was going to sing the song but it was obvious even before the song started that she wasn't confident with her singing. Indeed she was so tense she forgot the lyrics soon after the song started. This apparently sent her into a panic and it was until the middle of the first chorus when she managed to recover from it. This would have been something unacceptable for a professional *singer* but the most fans there of the *seiyuu* seemed to enjoy the mishap. She looked nervous after that, though, as she never looked at the audience while she was singing, just like Nanri Yuuka at her first live (as Tiaraway). Anyway, after the song, we were given a few tens of seconds to shake hands and exchange a few words with her. I asked for more information about the doujinshi she mentioned earlier and now ready to hunt it down ^_-
The second one was by Shimokawa Mikuni to promote her second anime cover album "Remember." Unlike usual closed events (like the one by Ai described above), this one was held in front of the shop and almost like a street live. That is, no ticket was needed to join. Consequently probably more than 300 hundred people gathered for the occasion. Apparently it was her birthday and a big bunch of flowers was presented by one of the shop staff at the beginning. Then she started the event, which consisted of four songs from the album with some talk between them (not surprisingly her singing was much better than Ai's but her talking, again not surprisingly, wasn't as good as her songs). Although it was short, I enjoyed it a lot. After her performance, I joined the queue to get her autograph on the CD insert, have a few words with her and shake hands.
Hello from the air. I'm on my flight back to Japan from England now and this is my first experience with in-flight internet. It√‘ not fantastically fast and it comes with some extra cost, but it certainly helps for me to cope with the long (11 hours) boring flight. Yet such a flight remains tiring and I'll stop here for now. More about this trip will come later when I've recovered from the long journey.
Recently I read the 20th volume of the MariMite novel "Soeur Audition." Now that Kanako has quit from the race, Yumi's choice will be limited. But what interested me most is the relationship between Tsutako and Shouko. I don't know what will happen but Shouko's earlier episode in "Variety Gift" is my favourite and it's really nice to see her again. I wonder if Reine Hibiki has done (or will do) any colour work of her... I'd cut it out and put it in my marble-paper photo frame which I bought in Florence last year ^_^
Many people seem to have a trouble how to keep their CDs with the 'obi' (the outer paper strip). I use re-sealable plastic bags to keep obi and CDs together just like how they are sold. BUT, I ran out of them recently. So I decided to order more of them and looked for my last order through the old e-mails (I buy them directly from a factory). It turned out that my last order was made about three years ago and I ordered 600 of them... what does this mean!? So an order for 1000 has been made this time. ^_^;;;;
Last week I went to see the movie, "Gin-iro no Kami no Agito." When it was over, my feeling was like how I often feel these days after watching anime movies; what a difficult task to create a good ending. It seems they try to put too much into a film and fail to give some sort of ending to *all* of it. This might be a side effect of anime being recognised as a creative art. Many directors seem to regard their work as something more than mere entertainment and make it (or its story) unnecessarily complicated. Look at "Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro" and think how simple it was. "Art" doesn't have to be complex.
The music of Agito was interesting, though.
As usual, quite a few new shows started this January but I haven't watched much of them as I've been rather busy (you can tell from my silence on this page). One of the shows I have seen is, Yomigaeru Sora -Rescue Wings-. I wasn't too sure about it at first but Eps.4 was really nice ^_^ Well, I won't go into its story but will talk about its location a bit.
It is set in Komatsu, a rural city in Ishikawa Prefecture. I've been there a few times... or I've gone pass by it a few times on the way to Kanazawa. As Kazuhiro was appalled in Eps.1 at its inconvenience, it has absolutely nothing for tourists, except the airport, which is also a base of the Self Defence Force. I had a hard time myself to find a restaurant to my taste. I wonder how The City Council of Komatsu, which is credited in the ending, took these descriptions including Kazuhiro's "Komatsu has nothing. It'd be purely a waste of time to guide you around" in Eps.4 ^_^;; BTW, if you are a MLB fan and watch games held at the Yankee Stadium, you may know of an advertisement of "Komatsu" on the right outfield stands. This is by a big construction machine manufacture originated in the city and they wanted to support Matsui Hideki, who is also from the area.
Did you notice a small version of the 109 Building in Kanazawa in Eps.4? Its original in Shibuya has appeared in numerous anime as you must know. I was rather surprised at it when I saw it in Kanazawa first time. It gave me a very strange feeling ^_^;; Although Kazuhiro said and Megumi agreed that it's "just like Tokyo," Kanazawa is far less busy and more touristy (in both good and bad meanings). It is certainly worth visiting... unlike Komatsu. ^_-
Hello, everyone... zzz... zzz...
It's 4:30am here in Japan and I'm still working. Precisely speaking, I'm still in the middle of experiments using a certain facility for which we are given 24 hours to work with. So we started 9:00am and will finish in 4.5 hours. But that's not end of it. We have to travel some distance to go back to Tokyo... I expect I won't have any sleep another 15 hours or so. So I'm not very talkative at the moment, trying to keep myself awake with upbeat songs from my PC. Anyway...
Vol.1 of the Aria DVD series came out last week. I ran down to Akihabara on the first day. It's very nice. ^_^ Speaking of Aria, the miniature figure of the three prima's, which came with the LE of the manga Vol.8, turned out to be really cute. The book went sold out very quickly but, if you can get your hand on it, I highly recommend it ^_^
(Late) Happy New Year to everyone! ^_^
Obviously my new year holiday is over now ;_; This year my hometown had lots of snow and I almost stayed inside. You probably know about the "Kouhaku Utagassen" (The Song Battle between Red and White), which is aired on the New Year's Eve every year. This time NHK accepted requests from audience of their favourite songs (not limited to 2005). Of course, they can't answer all of the requests in the Battle, so they had a program prior to the main Battle to show "top" songs. Each songs get a few seconds with a bit of its PV. One exception was Happy Material with which they only show the cover art of the CD. I suppose NHK couldn't air anime of a commercial station ^_^;; BTW, Yamazaki Vanilla, who voices Mesousa in Pani-Poni Dash!, appeared a lot in this program to talk about the history of the Battle.
Since the last entry of this page, a few series came to their end. Aria was one of them. Although the final episode was a little week compared with other episodes, the series was really outstanding throughout. There are so many excellent episodes but, if I have to choose one, it's Eps.11. It was on of the best TV episodes in recent years. I watched the episode at least three times when it was aired (remember it stared 1:30am ^_^;;). Well, because of that, the series is costing me a lot. I've got artbooks, CDs, calendars, a CD-ROM, a poster box and T-shirts (I had never dreamed of a day when I buy something from Cospa! ^_^;;;). I've preordered the LE of the manga Vol.8 and the box edition and the DVD will follow. Besides the second season of the anime has been announced...