August 07, 2017

I Need A Nap Badly

So, in lieu of the latest entry in Operation RTPTIFG, I'm going to direct you to go read a post over at Midnight Tease about yuri manga.  I echo most of what he says.  And I'll just emphasize that Kase-san and... is good for what ails ya.  It's all in the expressions.


These are two people who really and truly like each other and like being with each other.  They act just like you'd expect people to act, more or less, and it's a joy to not have to deal with angst for once.

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July 02, 2017

Flying Witch: The Review

Simple, short review:  Do you want to be happy?  Then watch Flying Witch.  It'll do the trick in no time flat.


Oh, you want more detail?  Okay!  

In this world, magical beings are a little uncommon but known of by the general public.  They don't announce themselves as a rule, but it's not like they'd be persecuted if they did.  It's just... easier, I suppose.  Our main character Makoto is a trainee witch.  Well, that's not quite accurate: she's recently turned 15, and according to the traditional ways of witching world, she has come of age and is supposed to be out on her own.  Her parents, progressive in the magical community, instead send her off from their home in Yokohama to the city of Hirosaki near Aomori to live with family until she graduates high school, since being a witch "isn't exactly reliable these days."  While she's there, she'll get to learn magic better.  Hijinks ensue.

Except they don't, not really.  Oh yes, it's that kind of show.  If you think ARIA, but without all those pesky rowboats flitting about, you've got the idea of the sort of pace Flying Witch brings to the table.  People do things, stuff happens, the odd semi-deity shows up, lets go get a donut.  Makoto is just a little bit off from the "real world", not enough to be annoying,just... well, she's a witch and people are people and the two don't quite align perfectly.  Don't worry too much about it, have some tea and admire the scenery.

In many ways, the city of Hirosaki and the surrounding area is a quiet member of the show's cast.  It's the sort of place you can probably only find in certain locations in the world: it's an urban center of about 175,000 (which is roughly the same size as Duckford), but with a density of about 340 people per square km.  Duckford's population density, by comparison, is nearly 900/km2.  As such, Hirosaki is very much a city where if you go this way, you're heading into the city center and everything is compressed and... well, city-like.  If you go that way, though, things get more and more rural until you aren't really in a city at all anymore.  Go a little bit farther and you're in the woods. 

Image is from the OP, but it shows what I mean perfectly.  What all this means is that the series has the ability to position itself in any sort of scenery it needs at any time, and to look good doing it.  Believe me when I say that it takes advantage of this every single episode.

So.  We know Flying Witch looks nice, but a show like this doesn't work unless the characters and their interactions are outstanding.  Does it measure up?

more...

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May 31, 2017

Aria The Avvenire Ep03

"But Wonderduck," I hear you say and honestly I should get that looked at, "that came out in July of last year!"  And you are absolutely correct, it certainly did, good on you!  "No, that's not what I mean," you're saying crossly, "I mean 'why in the world are you only blogging about it now?'"

Oh, that's very simple.  I only just watched it last night.  Look, let me explain why I, as devoted a fan of the ARIA franchise as there is, didn't watch the last episode of the long-awaited special that was released with the new BD boxsets.  I don't know if anybody else does this, but if I'm hotly anticipating something I often... wait on it.  A new book I've been looking forward to for months?  It's going to sit on the table for a few weeks.  New episode of ARIA?  Oh yeah, that's gonna wait.  Part of it is anticipation: "I'm so excited about this that I don't want to lose that feeling!"  Another part is fear: "Please please please let it be as good as I hope.  If it's bad, it's going to feel awful!"

So I've been saving it for a dark and unhappy night.  Last night, in the middle of a bout of self-loathing (I may be on happy pills, but they don't work miracles), I decided it was time.  I settled into my chair, got as comfortable as my various injured body parts would let me, and pressed play.

Just from the first few minutes, I knew two things.  First, oh god they got it right on the button.  Second, I could see where this was going and I was going to be a sobbing mess by the time it was done.  If you're a fan, you'll note the people in the picture above: three generations of undines (plus Grandma).  The three newbies in the aprons, the main characters on the left, and the "old guard" on the right... except someone's missing.


more...

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May 16, 2017

Definitive AMVs

Let me explain the title.  In my mind, there are certain Anime Music Videos that capture the spirit of their subject so well that it becomes the (say it with me) definitive AMV for it.  It could be a character study, or an overview of a particular series, or less often, the AMV is practically synonymous with a song.  

To me, it feels like it's clear almost instantly that "this is it, this is the one!"  It will come as no surprise to me if people disagree with my choices... I can't help what other people think, even if they're terribly terribly wrong... but that's the beauty of this sort of thing.  If you and me think entirely alike, one of us is superfluous, right?  Enough chatter!  Let's get to watchin'!


more...

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February 08, 2017

Interview With A Vampire

Hopefully all of you regular (or irregular, I don't judge) anime viewers are watching the show of the season, Interviews With Monster Girls.  It's light-hearted, with a surprising amount of depth to it as well.  While I'm not a huge fan of the yuki onna (yet... she basically was just introduced in last week's Ep05), everybody else in the show is delightful.  Even the normie teacher.

There is no doubt, however, that the true breakout star of the series is Hikari, the vampire.  She's basically the most realistic high school girl I've ever seen in an anime series.  I mean, other than the whole "vampire" thing, of course.  I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but not too terribly long after I returned from grad school in ignominious defeat, my old theatre teacher from high school called and hired me to do the lighting design for a play the theatre department at his new school was doing.  He had a lot of expectations of this one, because it was being entered into the All-State Theatre Festival... there were something like 900 shows being considered, but only six would be chosen.  The name of that play?  Dracula.  A fairly faithful retelling of the original vampire story, in fact.  And o, did I go wild on that design!  Easily the best of my 200+ lighting designs, in fact.  Anyway, we did go downstate, where I got to take a custom light design run via computer and turn it into something using a generic light plot run via a manual control board.  That only took four hours to do.  I digress.  They say that there isn't a competition between the "full-length feature presentations" at All-State; officially, they're right.  Unofficially, however, that's a bunch of hooey and everybody attending knows it.  I saw four of the five other plays downstate, and the fifth I saw when it ran here in Duckford at a private high school.  Not only were we the best of the bunch, it wasn't even close.  I'm honestly not bragging about that, it's just a simple fact.  We had a good bunch of kids... which brings me back to my original point: Hikari reminds me of, like, three of my students rolled into one.  Good kids, all of 'em.  If you've been watching the show, you undoubtedly remember the laugh-out-loud moment from the most recent episode: when Hikari needs to chew on someone because "her teeth itch."  Relative to that scene, I found this:

For everybody that ISN'T watching the show, hopefully that just convinced you to do so.  You're seriously missing out.

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January 30, 2017

The Winter Season Of My Discount Tent.

The long-standing rule of thumb is that the Winter season of an anime year is the weakest.  Looking back through my January archives, I see that such shows as Vividred Operation and Rio Rainbow Gate! both aired in that month.  With that sort of pedigree, it seems hard to argue anything but Winter being the weakest.  However, there's always something to watch in every season, and this Winter is no different.  In fact, I went into it interested in five series, and was ordered to watch a sixth.  We're now three episodes into most shows and that means it's time to take a look at what hit with me, what missed, and what failed badly.

Let's see what we can see!

more...

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November 22, 2016

Your Weekly Asuka, S2E07

So we come to Asuka's most revealing episode yet.  We finally discover exactly why she's so wistful about "wanting the summer to go on forever", why she's so adamant about getting the band to Nationals, and maybe... just a bit... about why she's so secretive all the time.  However, sometimes the answers you get aren't the answers you want...

This look comes immediately after an announcement that the Club will be playing a concert at the local train station in about a week or so.  Our Goofy Cute is definitely not reacting the way she should.  A short time later, we find out why.

In the Teacher's Office, Asuka's mother is trying to get The Powers That Be to accept Asuka's resignation from the Club, so she can concentrate on college prep exams.  Body language would seem to suggest that there's some disagreement on this matter.  When Conductor-sempai says "nope, because it's not what Asuka wants, and you really should support her y'know..." it looks like the matter is over and done with.  Until Mom says, quite calmly, "Asuka, tell the nice man you're leaving the club."  It's with some surprise in her voice that Our Funny Obsession says that she doesn't want to quit.

And then her mother whups her upside de haid.  It was at this point that I suddenly had an icy knot in my gut.  Look, I know she isn't real.  I know Asuka's just a secondary character in a cartoon.  Not even ink on paper anymore, y'know?  I know all this.  But this show has done a helluva job making the watcher care about the cast of Hibike! Euphonium.  Hats off to KyoAni for a job well done.  It was also at this point that much of Asuka began to be explained.  Why the desire for the endless summer (so she wouldn't have to quit).  Why she was so desperate to get the band to Nationals (so she had a reason not to quit).  And why she's so secretive about her real feelings (learned behavior, keeping her interest in band under cover from mom). 

When a suddenly contrite mother attempts to apologize, Asuka simply turns to Conductor-sempai and says "I'm afraid I'm going to miss club today," takes her mother's hand, and walks away like nothing had happened.  She's then missing from the Club for the next week (note: the original translation out there said it was a month.  Within twelve hours of release, the length of time had changed to a week).  Well, mostly missing.

She does make an appearance shortly after the slap, tells everybody not to worry, and then mostly disappears again... except for one conversation she has with the president of the club.  Again, she says it's no big deal, but this time someone calls her on it.  It's a lot more serious than she's letting on.  She doesn't deny it, but also says she won't be causing problems.  And then she's gone again until the day of the concert at the train station.

She's back and she's ready to play.  But there's no explanation about how that happened, how things got worked out with her mother, nothing like that at all.  This isn't over, and we're going to learn a lot more about Asuka pretty darn soon I'm thinking.  Though after this episode, I'm no longer quite as enthused about seeing behind the curtain. 

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November 18, 2016

Your Weekly Asuka, S2E03 - E06

Yes, yes, the feature took a few weeks off.  Between the Cubs and overtime at work, it's been hard enough to watch Hibike! Euphonium 2, let alone write about it.  But this week was special, because we've finally gotten to see behind the curtain and find out what makes Our Goofy Cute tick... at least partially.  More than we have before, and that's a good thing.  Except... well, you'll see.  But first, let's get caught up.

Episode 3 saw the band go to a training camp for a few days.  Meanwhile, the controversy about the third-year who quit the band wanting to get back in swirls apace... and all of it swirls around Asuka.  She's the one preventing it from happening for reasons she refuses to tell, other than it'd hurt the club.  Just like in Season 1, she's the focal point of everything... without being the center of the show.

Ep04 brought around the resolution of the previous episode's drama, and Asuka's true reasons for her actions become apparent.  One telling line from Our Silly Obsession was "I think people are fairly calculating in terms of their behavior."  When the show's nominal lead comes right out and says Asuka's too cynical, we get another one of these shots:

...and her saying "Let's get to Nationals."  In doing so, the lead begins to wonder (again) what the REAL Asuka thinks, as do we all.  The look on The Goofy Cute's face as the scene comes to an end is not goofy at all, but... resigned, maybe.

Ep05 includes a rather emotionally charged speech from the Vice-President of the Band Club, where she comes out and says just how badly she wants to win this competition.  She actually gets angry during it, which is new.  Even as it's going on, it's clear that this isn't just another rah-rah-win-one-for-the-gipper speech for her, there's something more brewing behind it.  And then KyoAni goes out and blows every production studio in Japan out of the water with the last eight minutes of the show.  We finally get to hear the band's competition piece in its entirety... and KyoAni animates the entire thing, giving every member of the band some face time... and not a single word is said during that time.  If you want to see the whole thing, you can watch it here... I'd recommend watching the whole episode though, simply because yootoob's compression does bad things to the video quality.

Ep06.  It's festival time at school, so of course Asuka's in full Goofy mode as a fortune teller.  After this, she disappears for the rest of the episode... or at least until the very end, where we find her alone in a classroom, practicing silently... while a woman with similar colored hair knocks on the door to the teacher's office.

Which brings us inexorably to Ep07... soon.

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October 18, 2016

Your Weekly Asuka, S2E02


This week, the second season of Hibike! Euphonium presents us with a staple of "group" shows: a training camp!  The entire band will secrete themselves away for multiple days and do nothing but practice, practice, practice!  Of course, it never works out that way: there's always downtime for hijinks to occur.  But before that, there's a mandatory three-day break enforced by the school.  Whatever will our main characters do during a short summer vacation?  Why, go to the pool, of course!  I have to admit, I didn't expect a swimsuit episode in this series, but hey, I'm not complaining.

No, not complaining in the least.  Kumiko is, though... she has no idea who this strange girl that's molesting her is! 

Oh.  Now she knows.  It's the Goofy Cute, in full effect!  A nice lighthearted moment in an otherwise pretty serious episode.  It's also practically the last time we see Asuka until very late in the episode.  Which is amazing, because the episode from this point on spends its time describing the events of last year that saw most of the second-year club members quit, and Asuka's role therein.

In other words, it's yet another episode where she's the main character mostly without showing up.  Yet, despite all of this, we still don't really know why she's so opposed to letting that one second-now-third-year student rejoin the club.  The good news is that it seems we'll be getting that info in the next episode.

While this is all well and good, I'm still looking forward to THE Asuka Episode.  It's gotta be coming.  KyoAni can't be setting all this up just to ignore the payoff, right?

Ridiculously pretty shot of the episode:

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October 11, 2016

Your Weekly Asuka, S2E01

Wonder of wonders, Hibike! Euphonium is back for a very welcome second season.  Not only is it back, but Kyoto Animation has blessed us with an hour-long first episode to boot.  Pleasantly, the raison d'ĂȘtre of this feature, Asuka Tanaka, aka The Goofy Cute, is... well, not featured exactly, but she's quite involved with the first half of the episode.

What we get from her is like "Asuka's Greatest Hits", ranging from the Goofy to the master deflector, able to pass the buck on anything she doesn't want to deal with, to something of a new aspect: the cold-blooded assassin.

She actually does the cat-smile thing at one point, which was a little freaky I gotta admit.  She's also not above some cheek-pulling.  I don't remember either occurring during the first season, so there's that going on.

But its when one of the 2nd year students that quit the club last year asks for her blessing to rejoin that Dark Asuka pops up.  Not without a fight, however: she does everything she can to avoid the issue.  It's only the persistence of the other student that brings out Dark Asuka.  Her blessing?  Nope.  "I don't approve.  You wouldn't benefit the club."  All the while with a dead, dead look on her face.

It is telling, I believe, that the 2nd year student came right to Asuka first, rather than the club president.  I mean, we already know she's the power behind the throne and all, but still.  It's clear this is going to be the the season's first arc, which means plenty of Asuka.  This is nothing but a good thing in my mind, because we need to know more about her.

"We"... "I"... whichever. 

A word about this episode in general.  KyoAni pulled out all the stops with this one, particularly during the festival scene.  Holy crepe, did they go all out.

The festival is a riot of colors and hundreds of people, most of them animated, and all of it lighted by lanterns and fireworks.  It's very nearly movie quality at times.

We even get an Asuka sighting.  Alone and away from the festival. 

If you were wondering if Season 2 was going to measure up to Season 1, wonder no longer.  If it's anything like this episode, or even in the same area code, it's gonna be a fantastic three months.

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September 19, 2016

Returns


Soon.

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September 15, 2016

Finally!!!


October 5th. 

Hot damn.

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August 26, 2016

Revisiting A Figure

Nearly four years ago now, friend Ben from the curiously named Midnight Tease removed a blight from his figure collection sent a thoughtful gift here to The Pond.  Of course, I immediately took photographs... but even as I posted them, I was less than satisfied with the results.  Everything was either too dark or too bright, and Rio deserved better, darnit.  Well, over at the Anime Figures Subreddit, they run a bi-weekly photography contest and this time around the theme is "Smallest Figure".  There's plenty of ways to interpret that, of course, but I went literal... it'd give me a chance to fix one of the Rio shots!  Here's the result:

click the pic for larger MVCD.
Y'know what helps?  Having a camera that can keep up with what your mind sees.  That really makes a difference.  There's some saturation boost, and a "vignette" effect that you would have thought was just lighting if I didn't mention it, but otherwise, that's the picture the way it came off the SD card. 

Yeah, that'll do.

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July 16, 2016

The Perfect Magical Girl Candidate

Over at Steven's place, that worthy is asking "where do magical girls come from."  In recent times, a number of them, he points out, have spun off of... let's call them normal... series to become immensely popular in their own right.  An example of this is the genre-defining Nanoha Takamachi, one-time 12 year old minor character in a dating sim who wound up being spun off into her own series: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha.  A total of four series, two movies, untold manga and figures later, very few people indeed can claim to have even heard of the game she first came from, Triangle Hearts

Befriending the hell outta people since 2004.
But Steven goes beyond just naming past characters.  Indeed, he goes ahead and lays out a set of rules for finding potential future magical girls.  The rules are:

1. The character is a girl, ideally young but not necessarily so, and she doesn't have a spectacular figure (yet).
2. She isn't the main character of the series she's in. Ideally she's a minor character who doesn't make all that much of a difference.
3. The series she is in isn't about magic and she herself doesn't have any extraordinary powers.


He then names a few himself.  In his comment section, readers suggest a few more.  Ah, but I, Wonderduck, have the perfect candidate, one that ought to have happened already, as the parent show has seven omakes and they had plenty of time of work it in.  Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to present to you...

Magical Girl Kohaku!  Let's take a look at how she fits the rules.  Clearly, she's young.  She's not the main character of the series she's in... in fact, she's the younger sister of a secondary character in her series and has a total screen time of less than two minutes.  Total words spoken: eight (...in English, anyway.  I counted!).  The series she's in, Hibiki! Euphonium, has nothing to do with magic in any way.  She does have one power, however:

The Power of Cute!  Really, she's perfect for the role of magical girl.  We all need Magical Girl Kohaku in our lives, the sooner the better.  She will save us from the darkness that is our daily lives, spreading the joy and happiness that only a magical girl can generate throughout our drab existences.  And we will like it!

The power of the ahoge compels you!

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June 17, 2016

Servant x Service

It's a plot done to death, not only in anime but in just about every media type known to mankind: a young woman wronged seeks revenge, and will stop at nothing to get it.  She lives her life only for that final goal.  We've heard it all before, and we'll undoubtedly hear it all again.

When you get right down to it, that's what *Servant x Service* is about.  What's different this time is that the character seeking revenge has chosen to become, not a ninja or assassin or police officer or soldier or spy, but... um... a civil servant.  Yup.  "James Bond, DMV worker."  It's her first day of work in an unnamed town in Hokkaido as one of the newest members of the Welfare Office.  Go ahead, I dare you to tell me you expected that.

Our main characters.  Hasebe (L) is one of those jerks that's good at everything naturally, so puts no effort into anything... except, perhaps, goofing off and trying to get girls' phone numbers.  He decided to become a civil servant because it's a secure, easy way to get through life.  Miyoshi (C) is a recent college graduate and shy, almost timid.  She's a good listener, though.  And finally, Lucy (R) is the driving force for the show.  She's the one burning for revenge.  But why be a civil servant then?  Because she's trying to find the man who approved the name on her birth certificate... see, her parents were kinda ditzes, they asked for potential names from friends, and liked them all so much that they named her ALL of them.  Thus, Lucy's full name is "Lucy Kimiko Akie Airi Shiori Rinne Yoshiho Chihoko Ayano Fumika Chitose Sanae Mikiko Ichika... (continuing) Yamagami."   For the record, "(continuing)" simply means that's there's quite a bit more to her name, but we never find out what it is.  So Lucy figures the best way to find this man is to become a civil servant like him.  When she finds him, she intends to give him a very stern talking to.

Yes, really.

more...

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May 19, 2016

When Anime Was Magical

No, this isn't going to be a "back in my day" post.  Instead, it's a lamentation.  Just over a year ago, I fell in love with Hibike! Euphonium, a little show about a girl and her band... brass, not rock.

Not just because the girls were cute and the art was pretty, but because the series was just that damn good.  Full package, from animation to story to characters to sound, it just amazed me and made me wonder why it wasn't next week already.  Before that, what show did I fall in love with last?

2011's Rio Rainbow Gate! fits that bill.  The polar opposite of HibEuph, I wound up loving it while doing my series writeups.  The animation isn't good, the characters are paper-thin, the story is dreadfully bad, but I'll be darned if it isn't going to be The Pond's "high water mark" down the line.  After this, though?  Sure there's 2006's Kanon, and 2007's Hidamari Sketch, and 2005's  Aria and on and on... but there's just been nothing else recently.

I miss that.  I miss falling head over heels with a series like Noir, which just completely blindsided me with its quality.  Once every five years just isn't often enough.  Oh, don't get me wrong, there's plenty of shows I've liked... one look at the "anime writeups" category will tell you that... but that's not the same thing.  I need that magic again... and I don't see any chance that it's going to happen anytime soon.  I know it's stupid to hope for a classic series to come down the pike, but there it is.

Otherwise, why are we watching?

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May 09, 2016

KonoSuba: The Review

After reading Ubu's review of the first few episodes of KonoSuba, I decided "Heck, let's give it a shot... it's not like there's anything else going on this season."  I mean, a tongue-in-cheek look at the old "main character stuck in a RPG game" genre sounds like a load of fun: light-hearted, funny, all that sort of thing.  I came to it after the show's run had ended, and people were generally enthusiastic about it, so it seemed perfect for me.

So now that I've watched the series, what do I think of it?

more...

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May 03, 2016

It's Up To You!

Hello Disco Citizens!  I'm David Yarritu Wonderduck, the host and proprietor of this here blog thing.  In the past, I have occasionally asked you, the assembled masses I lovingly refer to as "The Pond Scum," for input into what you would like to see me write about.  This time, however, the question is slightly different.  I have two posts in mind right now, and I'd like you to tell me which you'd like to see first!  Take a look at these:

1) A review of Kono Subarashii Sekai Ni Syukufuku Wo!, aka KonoSuba.

After reading a "first impressions" post by The Crimson Splat, I thought KonoSuba would be just what I needed: funny, a little stupid, lighthearted.  Something I could enjoy without having to think too hard about it.  Well, I was wrong.  I've thought a lot about KonoSuba, and it's time to hold my review up to the light and let y'all see it.

2) Fanservice, cheesecake and how one man's trash is another man's person.

A couple of days ago, a brief conversation over at SDB's place about the content of his prolific cheesecake posts got me to thinking about my lack of interest in doing similar here at The Pond.  It has nothing to do with some "high-minded" attitude / prudery, but about how most cheesecake is either boring or outright tasteless to me.  And what's the difference, anyway?     

So there's your choices, dear readers.  Your opinion will make the difference... let me know in the comments!  It's up to you!

UPDATE: Welp, sounds like the masses have spoken!  KonoSuba it is...

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April 08, 2016

The Forever Incomplete Post: ARIA the Avvenire Ep01

Back in January, I finally got to watch the new episode from the ARIA franchise, the first of three being co-released with the new BD sets.  Being the sort of person I am, after watching I immediately headed to The Pond and started writing.

Then deleted the post.  It sucked, full of massive fanboying to degrees not seen since Naruto/Dragonball Z slashfic.  So I waited another day or so and started again... and that post ended up in the bitbucket almost as quickly, and for much the same reason.  A third post died a-bornin', because I tried to do it in a less passionate manner and it turned out to be dull and boring. 

Then there was the fourth attempt.  It caught fire, then fell into the swamp It began to turn into an episodic recap, which was not at all what I wanted to do, because really: I love the franchise too much to abuse it like that.  Still, I didn't delete it, but let it simmer... some would say "fester"... all the while looking for some way to make it click.

Until just this evening, when Steven Den Beste asked if I had seen ARIA the Avvenire Ep01 yet, I had not, in fact, managed to come up with anything of note.  Until now... now, I'm just going to post what I have with this preamble that you're currently reading, and a followup postscript.  So without further ado, here's what I managed to scrape out of the catbox.

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The ARIA franchise is very close to being my favorite anime of all time, coming in just behind Kanon '06 and Azumanga DaiohARIA ran for three seasons, however, and could have easily continued for longer... but didn't.  It ended appropriately, with multiple "passing of the torch" moments, but it was bittersweet.  The world of Neo-Venezia was so attractive, so comfortable, so... nice, that it was hard to admit that it was over and that we'd never get to visit it again.  I mean, of all the myriad stories we've been given via anime over the decades, the only one I'd ever want to live in was the one involving female gondolieri on Mars.  Hell, I've even created my own backstory, running a a small shop somewhere off the Piazaa San Marco filled with attractive trinkets and gewgaws and books and coffee for the tourists and residents alike.  Occasionally an undine might bring her charges by, spend some time there, then head out to other sights.  Less commonly, one might stop by on her own for tea and conversation.  The shop might even end up in an episode when one of the main characters passes by.  And that'd be all I could ever want, a comfortable living in a wonderful place.  But it was over, and that was that.

Except it wasn't.  "That" changed in February of 2015 when it was reported that as part of a 10-year anniversary of the first season's broadcast we'd be getting new episodes!  Nobody knew exactly what the format was... OVAs?  A movie?  A whole new series?... but that almost didn't matter: we were going back to Neo-Venezia!  As it turned out, there would be three OVAs, first shown theatrically in September, then one would be included in the forthcoming BD releases of the original three series.  The first OVA was released right around Christmas, and after a few weeks for the holidays, a fansub finally made its way to the usual places.  I downloaded it late on a Monday night and spent the whole next day at work in anticipation of the joy that was about to come.

But at the back of my mind, there was... not fear, exactly, but trepidation... that the production staff would screw it up.  It wouldn't be difficult to do; a tiny change in tone and ARIA would be ruined.  The franchise has always had an air of wistful nostalgia to it.  The slightest drift to maudlinity or mawkishness could push the cheese factor to 10... and with the death of both of Athena's voices the trigger was there.  Then there was the obvious fact that this wasn't the same production staff: Hal Filmmaker went away in 2009.  Its successor, TYO Animations, is handling the OVAs, but... well.  Only one way to find out how it was.


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Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:37 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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December 28, 2015

Your Weekly Asuka, the OVA... or 12.5, whichever.

It's been quite some time since we last visited the Hibike! Euphonium show, but a few days ago the long-awaited OVA came out.  Considering how much I enjoyed the series, it shouldn't come as any surprise that I immediately watched it with one eye peeled for Asuka, the vice-president of the band club.

It should also come as no surprise that the Goofy Cute was being both goofy and cute... for the thirty seconds she was in the episode.  Alas, KyoAni stopped using her as a character around Ep12 in the original run, so Asuka bringing the goofy was to be expected.  Since that was her entire contribution to the story, it was a little bit disappointing.

The rest of the OVA was quite entertaining, and it was really nice to be back with this bunch of characters that we came to love over the course of three months or so.  As usual, it was outstanding visually, but it was really quite nice to focus on the "junior leads", as it were, instead of the main characters.  Which is not to say I wouldn't have liked to see more of Asuka.

Since, y'know, that was kinda the whole point of this little series of mine in the first place.  I guess we'll just have to wait for the second season... or maybe the recap movie will have a little bit more about her in it.  Either way, it'll be good fun.  Unless KyoAni doesn't expound upon her character, in which case I'll be quite grumpy.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:52 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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