February 24, 2009

Random Anime Picture #39: All Out Of Ideas

-Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya, ep03

Yes, Yuki's got a police-style light on her head.  Yes, it works.

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February 21, 2009

Clannad Collection 1... a review of sorts.

Boy, ain't that the sad and sorry truth...
Let us all face the disappointing fact that ADV as we knew it is long, long gone and probably never coming back.  The above disclaimer, from the first DVD of Clannad Collection 1 (ep01-12), just confirmed it for me.  Even though they supposedly have the license for the show, ADV's logo or name is nowhere to be seen.  Now they're just the "distributors", which is probably a lot like being the Second Assistant to the Key Grip on a movie set: you're involved, but nobody is going to notice your name in the credits... not even your family.

That's a pity, because we've really been spoiled by ADV's productions in the past.  Tons of bonus material, high-quality subtitling, decent dubs, lovely packaging... all could be found on your average ADV release, and none of it is present in Clannad Collection 1

Understand that I'm a big fan of Clannad, and my past comments on the show (loads of humor, very good story, likeable characters, in some ways better than Kanon '06, yadda yadda yadda) still apply.  Instead of lavishing praise on the show, this "review" is going to savage the actual DVD release.

Let's start with the format: 12 episodes.  That's common for a half-season show, or the first half of a full-season production, yes.  Consider, if you will, Nozomi's recent release of the first half of ARIA the Natural.  12 episodes on four discs (plus another DVD full of extras) in a nice slipcase.  In comparison, ADV/Sentai Filmworks gave Clannad the cheapo treatment: 12 episodes on TWO discs, and the only extras are clean versions of the OP and ED.

As you can imagine, stuffing that many episodes onto a disc has an effect on video quality.  It's not bad, quite watchable.  But in comparison to Kanon '06, by the same production company, there's a visible degradation in the picture... at least to my eyes. 

Which brings me to my second gripe: subtitling.  I know I'm spoiled by fansub groups like SS-Eclipse and the lamented a.f.k., but the subs are miserable in this version of Clannad.  No, not the translation; that reads perfectly well (and I don't know enough Japanese to be able to point out that sort of error anyway).  No, I'm talking about something as simple Quality Control.  For example:

In what professional company would that sort of thing be considered okay?  I've watched the first five episodes, and there's at least one "error of omission" in each.  I've also seen an "affect/effect"-style mistake as well (though not using those particular words; I couldn't find the error as I was taking screenshots for this post).  That's slightly more understandable, but still unacceptable in a professional release.

The next complaint was mentioned by commenter Andy earlier, but not for the same reason that he gave.  This release is subtitle-only, meaning that there's no English voice dubbing.  That's fine; it's a perfectly understandable cost-saving move, and since I rarely listen to the English dub (and only if I'm reviewing a series), I don't miss it.  The problem I have is with the DVD itself: at least on the first disc, subtitles are not automatically enabled!  I've confirmed this on two different players.  Even worse, there's no way to enable them via the menu page... I had to turn them on via the remote (for the TV) or the control panel (for the computer).

The final complaint I have is minor, but telling.  There is no way to jump to episode chapters on a standard DVD player.  For example, let's say you want to watch the second half of the second episode.  To do that, you have to start episode two, then hit the skip button until you get to that chapter.

Taken in all, this release comes off as amateurish.  I've made my own DVDs that seem more polished than this.  I know ADV is cash-strapped, and I should be happy that Clannad has seen the light of day at all, but come on, this is ridiculous. 

Some might consider these to be minor complaints.  Well, perhaps, but keep them in mind when you're looking to spend your money on the show.  I'm not going to say "don't buy it."  If you like slice-of-life shows, it's fantastic.  Even those who don't care for such productions (like half of the Duck U. Anime Club) grudgingly admit that it's good. 

But ADV's production standards have slipped so far from the days of Azumanga Daioh (translator notes and designer sketches in a seperate booklet for each disc) or Bubblegum Crisis 2040 (their "Essential Anime" budget line put the 24-episode series on six dvds, included all the bonus material, and had reversable covers), it's almost sickening.  If these production values are what we're going to be seeing from them for now on, well, I'm going to have a hard time giving them my money in the future.

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February 19, 2009

Here Comes A Teaser...

I just received the first half of Clannad from Bob's place.  I have a few thoughts that I'm going to have to get off my chest, but it's gonna have to wait until Saturday...  it'll be worth the wait, though, believe me.

Oh yes... yes, it will be worth the wait.  It won't be my usual Clannad love, trust me on that one.

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February 15, 2009

Ikkitousen Great Guardians OVA 5

As hard as it is to imagine, these Great Guardians OVAs have actually created a small amount of storyline amongst the ridiculous fanservice.  No, I'm not talking about the "sexy cosplay" theme, but episodes three and four had the lingerie battle between Kan-u Unchou and Kakouen Myousai, that ended with the S&M assault on Koukin.  Storyline?  In my Ikkitousen?  It's more likely than you think!

But what does all that have to do with this OVA?  And who's our lucky contestant this time around?

...KC Royals two.
Wait... that figure behind the titles... is it?  Can it be?

Why did my nose just start bleeding?
It IS!  Ryomou Shimei, last seen rescuing Koukin at the end of OVA 4... and it appears that she's out for revenge.

As always, everything beyond this point should be considered extremely Not Safe For Work, but I'll warn you again, just to be sure.


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February 11, 2009

Ikkitousen Great Guardians OVA 4

In the last OVA, we had a legendary lingerie duel between Kan-u Unchou and Kakouen Myousai that ended with...

...to the wailing of otaku everywhere.

Well, next time is here.  Next time is now.

...A New Hope.
...and Kakouen is ready for battle.

Words fail me.
It goes without saying that everything from here on out is even more NSFW than these usually are, but I'll say it again: NSFW.


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February 07, 2009

An Early Example of Fanservice.

-Rhapsody Rabbit, 1948.

Even more blatant than a lot of today's examples, come to think of it...

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February 04, 2009

Kurokami The Animation: Why Shouldn't I Drop it?

Okay, here's the story.  Not that long ago, I was gushing about Kurokami.  The first two episodes were good-to-very good, the animation was swell, the characters were interesting, so on and so forth.

But something is doing a good job of turning me off the show.  Big time.  Look, here's our main character:

Awww... ain't she cute?
She is cute... and that's the problem.  What do I mean, why is that a problem?


Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:36 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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