Sunday, January 29, 2012

Winter Season 2012

As we move out of the warm shows from the summer and fall, and into the winter season, we move towards the season of sequels. This is a big contrast to last winter, in regards to what I'm watching, to last year. Of course, last year we also had Madoka, and its very difficult to beat that. I could say I'm interested in the new shows, like Kill Me Baby, High School DxD, AnoNatsu, or Moretsu, but they aren't truly pulling my attention. Instead I'm keeping up with sequels or continuing seasons of shows I previously enjoyed. I'll be keeping an eye on how they stack up to their original seasons, if they're just as successful or if they're falling short where the other pulled through. I've passed through three episodes (or more in the case of Bakuman), so let's see how they're hanging in there so far.

Significantly more awkward scenes this time around.
Picking up (mostly) where Bakemonogatari left off, Nisemonogatari continues the supernatural adventures of Araragi. While some of the animation is vividly different from that of Bakemono, the effects that were beloved in both it and Madoka are still present. Just as ever present are the hints to second meanings in conversations spread out as symbols or texts in the background. The characters are just as mischievous as their predecessors, perhaps even more so. A big reason for this is because they're no longer under the yoke of supernatural pain. Instead they've embraced it and as Araragi no longer has Oshino or a certain other character around, he can't balance his vampirism, which forces more character development on his side. The first chapter, "Karen Bee" hasn't concluded yet, but so far the show promises to be just as much of a story as its predecessor. It promises to hold true to its title of "Imitation Story." Although, if you haven't seen Bakemonogatari, you're going to be left confused. It's based off a series of light novels, so it only makes sense to watch them in progression as well. 

This isn't so much of a sequel as a continuation, so I won't have much to say on it outside of this. A series about one persons dream to become a manga author famous enough to get an anime is a little mediocre, but through in an exponential amount of rivals and a strong love interest and it grows up quite a bit. As an author, I love it. As a fan of anime and manga, I love it even more. I can't complain about the plot or how well it sticks to the original manga story as I've never read it. For what it is, I love it. I'm constantly looking forward to the next episode. The soundtrack is subpar, and the animation a bit turn of the century, but the plot carries it well enough. As a continuation, it stacks up. There is no gap between the first season and this one, which is terrific.

 Aquarion Evol
Is it me?
Let me say this right now: I love mech anime. All kinds of mech anime. If it involves giant robots, I will almost always watch it. Aquarion is perhaps my favorite though, because of the combination of religious themes, romance, and the fact that its directed by the man behind the genre. The man who created Macross and launched Robotech as a result. With that sad, I had rather high expectations for Evol. Did they hold up? ABSOLUTELY. Yoko Kanno returns as the composer, and for the first episode I couldn't pick up on any new songs, the soundtrack being largely recycled from the original Aquarion. Which is fine, they still fit in splendidly. By the third episode, however, I was hearing new music and loving it, as it fits in perfectly with the older compositions. Unlike Nisemonogatari, you don't necessarily have to watch the first season. But does it help? A little bit. It certainly makes guessing which character is which from the older series a lot more interesting. And of course, I'm happy as long as my favorite character, my first conspiracy theory character of the show, is there. Commander (now High Commander) Fudo is still alive and kicking, making my theory entirely valid. I'll talk more of that theory some other time, but for now I look forward to seeing just who the true Apollo is. 

Until Next Time, Sousei Gattai!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA Blackout

SOPA, and its sister, PIPA are bills that seek to censor the internet. Content, such as what you find here, will no longer be available.

Look forward to a future as Shinji should they pass.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy New Year!

A happy new year to all you readers!

What is an American Otaku? Part II

Anime otaku are pretty crazy, and if you can't tell just from the blog, its pretty obvious I am one. There are other otaku as well, and ones that are just as prominent in American society today. They are not the ones wearing the word otaku on their sleeves, and are often the ones generalizing all anime into one lump sum. They are the ones calling on the powers that be that these nerds are weeaboos and anything they say is completely invalidated. The good news is that they don't know that to the non-nerd world, they are also otaku. So today we'll take a look at another type of otaku: the gaming nerd.

Gaming Otaku: A Brief Introduction
Gaming in America is plentiful: there are a plethora of games coming out, even for kids as young as five. Of course, there are a variety of gaming otaku, just as there are for anime,  because there are just as many genres. The three major ones are, of course, the first-person shooter (FPS), the Japanese Role-Playing Game/Role-Playing Game (JRPG/RPG), and the Massive Multi-Online Player Role-Playing Game (MMORPG). Of course, there are those that specify their otakudom to consoles: those that solely play X-Box, Nintenerds, and those that will eat up anything on a Sony console. No matter their preference, gamers still have a stigma associated with them, in much the same way otaku do.

The FPS players largely focus their console attention on X-Box, and hold their own stereotypes. These are usually the same people who are military otaku: they have a Michael Bay complex (needs moar explosions), can tell you everything about the guns in game and out of game, and can be heard uttering BOOM! HEAD SHOT! across mikes everywhere. Obnoxious as they may be, and though the player demographics are largely pre-teens, the reverse is also true as there are older gamers that enjoy them (and enjoy shooting the real life counter parts just as much). The gamer that plays these knows everything about a series and is always after the newest one (like Call of Duty or Gears of War). So they are a type of obsessive fan, and thus an otaku, all they may not be aware of it. Getting along with them is fairly easy, and spying them at conventions is even easier (they're the ones walking around in those really nice Halo cosplays, one more reason they are a part of the otaku world). You only need to play with them, and even if you are better let them win every once in a while.

The JRPG/RPG player is even more prominent as an otaku. They're games are often direct ports from Japan, translated but never watered down. These are the gamers that play for story, and are obsessive compulsive about having a perfectly organized inventory (otherwise how else are you going to get the item you need when you need it?). They vary back and forth between Nintendo and Sony consoles, and can usually agree that neither one console or the other is better. It's all about what you want from the game, and that's usually storyline.

Then there are the MMORPG fans, responsible for killing time the world over. While graphics are nice, they are not necessarily the most important things to the game. The three biggest companies, what I would consider anyway, are Blizzard, gPotato and WeMade. Pegi3 has some good games for the Western market, but not necessarily the best. World of Warcraft is still by far the most popular, and as a result of BlizzCon possibly the nerdiest thing to hit American soil.  If there was anything that came closest to being the sense of otaku in the original sense, the fans of MMORPG's are the closest. There is a definite stigma against players of the game, and a certain obsessiveness from the players. A part of it comes from the fact that the mechanics of the game are designed for repetition for success, giving the game indefinite life. A good deal of JRPG/RPG games follow this same idea to extend gameplay, something they invented and MMORPG's profit on.

Regardless of game genre, gamers still remain otaku. Their tendencies towards obsessiveness with what they enjoy, and their culture. A great deal like to argue that their genre is the best, similar to the way in which anime otaku argue over which show is the best. It leads to competitions, but rarely violence, which is by and far a good thing.
Especially when you have situations like this.
Until Next Time!