Love is Over

Posted by Demian @ 4:21 pm, May 31st, 2007

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Been a bad week for manga, hasn’t it?

Or, to be more specific, Rozen Maiden the manga is over, and rather abruptly at that. And by abruptly, I mean a deus ex machina ending where all the dolls go to sleep without anything being resolved at all. Let me explain it in detail now. I don’t follow the manga regularly, just learned about this from 4chan. After reading the raw of the final chapter, the basic story seems to be Kirakishou, the manga version of Barasaishou, is basically beating every doll to a pulp. Shinku is tied up, Megu is being held hostage, Souseiseki is alive, but then thorns grow out of her to entangle Suiseiseki; and Hinaichigo is still alive. While all this is going on, Laplace’s Demon appears, basically says “Lolz Alice game over kthx by” and literally all the dolls disappear, going to sleep until the next phase.

Now what could bring on this sudden change? It’s currently thought that Peach Pit either wanted to get away from BirZ magazine or send a big “fuck you” to the fans. Both of these seem to stem from the fact that the anime was a lot more popular than the manga, leaving the editors to want the manga to be more like the anime, or Peach Pit mad at fans for liking the anime more. Hard to tell right now. Hopefully this won’t be the end of Rozen Maiden, either in manga or anime form. Maybe we can have that legendary 3rd season now? To see the ending for yourself, download the final chapter here.

Nymphet (Kodomo no Jikan) Cancelled aka. You Blew It Up!

Posted by Demian @ 4:57 pm, May 30th, 2007

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Oh yeah, hardcore loli-rape here.

Well, it’s official now. Seven Seas has cancelled its planned release of Kodomo no Jikan, also known as Nymphet. I am sorely dissapointed in Seven Seas for doing this and basically bowing down to the uneducated horde. Whatever unintended consequences this will have are unknown at the moment, whether it be a general sensitivity on licensor’s part to controversial material or greater feedback from a more mainstream fanbase. One factor that this has highlighted, though, is very disturbing to me: otaku, here referring to all manga and anime fans in general, are deathly scared of the more undesireable parts of the fandom being found out by the mainstream. Like “fear of being accused as a witch and burned at the stake” scared. I’ll talk about that a bit later after I talk about the issue of KnJ being cancelled.

I blame two people mostly for this cancellation: Jason Deangelis, president of Seven Seas, and Zac Bertschy, Mr. Answerman for ANN. Jason Deangelis showed several mishandlings in his license of KnJ. While I firmly believe its licensing was not a mistake, I’ll admit it is a niche title that needs special handling. Titling it Nymphet, essentially conjuring up images of a Humbert Humbert-esque American pedophile, is not the kind of handling I was thinking about. Then trying to market this to a bookstore mainstream was pretty bad. My local stores don’t even carry Strawberry Marshmallow, and he expects them to carry something called Nymphet? Obviously this would of been bettered handled as more of an internet-only item. While its range would be limited, it would most likely become a moderate success among the hardcore market and niche groups. This is the route KnJ probably would of taken, if it wasn’t for Zac Bertschy’s wonderful “insight.”

Zac Bertschy decided, of his own accord based on various summaries and not the original material, that KnJ was clearly the work of the devil and not fit for publication, viewing anyone who would have bought it as instant pedophiles. This would of been fine, since every man is entitled to his own opinions, except Zac runs a highly popular and read column on a popular site, which, journalistic integrity usually says, means he would check the facts before deriding any work. Except, he didn’t, so secure in his own beliefs that any work that featured a little girl in slightly sexual situations must be lolicon at its greatest. And because he has a well known column, many people followed his beliefs, leading to the situation we have now. The almighty “fanbase” has spoken, even though the true audience for KnJ who would have bought the book and wished to read it were silenced. Blame Deangelis for not having the balls to stand up and defend his own company. So Deangelis gathered the wood and Bertschy set the fire, but what about the fans in all of this?

If anything, this shows in my eyes that the majority of the fanbase is scared; scared of the darker genres (lolicon, shota, yaoi, yuri, etc.) from coming to light, mainly mainstream light. “Far be it from being tortured for liking Naruto, what will happen if all manga becomes associated with pedophilia?” is probably the general idea most people who hated the book are thinking of. The thing is, there’s already plenty of stuff the mainstream could incriminate the fanbase with. Just think of all those yaoi titles. Where was the fan outcry then? Perhaps we should all be thankful the day hasn’t come yet when otaku are held under critical mainstream light, but that doesn’t mean we should live in fear of it. Anime was mostly seen at porn, but that viewpoint has changed. I fear the day when only “safe” titles are licensed, decided by a complacent majority who like things uncontroversial, meanwhile stifling a niche of more creative and darker interests.

What is all comes down to is, what happens when a niche group has interests the majority disapproves of? Here, the majority has spoken in harsh tones. Otakudom has grown to the point where there is no longer a collective one, but instead a myriad of interests fighting against each other for publisher attention. All we, who lie in that niche, can hope for is a braver publisher to stand up and support niches with new titles, something Seven Seas doesn’t seem to be able to do. Vertical and Dark Horse seem more deserving of support in this, I think, though they’ve hardly published anything as controversial as KnJ. This is probably just the first in a series of battles between the mainstream and niche anime worlds, between marketability and intellectual and creative freedom. Let’s hope people are more open for the next one.

Oh, and Seven Seas, WHERE’S THAT NOVEL LINE YOU’VE BEEN PROMISING FOR ALMOST TWO DAMN YEARS?! Just had to get my Seven Seas hate out.

Thoughts on Gurren-Lagann 9

Posted by Demian @ 6:34 pm, May 28th, 2007

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It’s been seven days since that man’s passing, and everyone is still feeling the effects. Simon is basically insane now, fighting against the continous Ganmen attacks with reckless abandon, screaming “kill, kill, kill, kill!” as he beats them to a pulp. The best, or perhaps worst, moment was when he yells at Rossiu, about where was his god when Kamina died, and that there is no god at all. All his god is is a ganmen. Pretty harsh stuff there. Simon’s cycle of self-hate and anger eventually causes him to even lose control of the Lagann. While it’s nice to see Simon not become pathetically worthless, he’s gone the exact opposite way, becoming nothing more than a revenge obsessed madman who doesn’t care about his own life at all. Even while he tries to compare himself to Kamina, even he knows Kamina was never like that. Good thing he’s saved by an un-assuming flower child from the sky.

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I like Nia. Her design is awesome, being busy but unique. And she’s voiced by Yukari Fukui aka. Nono is loev. It’s pretty obvious now that Nia is the girl for Simon. She managed to stop his cycle of rage by telling him it’s more important to live than to die in vain, an idea the rest of the cast had been echoing the whole episode. Also had her own Kamina moment. Hearing her say “Who do you suppose I am?” was epic. I wonder how the rest of the crew will react to the news that she’s the Spiral King’s daughter. Pretty negatively probably. I wonder in Adiene will try to capture her or kill her, because her whole role in everything is ambigious now. And I don’t think she’s going to die at the end of this arc. One, we’ve already seen adult designs for her, and, two, another death would just be redundant. Simon doesn’t need someone else he loves dying just to become Garlock.

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As for the other characters introduced, we finally get to meet the Spiral King and his four generals. Adiene is, of course, the best. Big breasts, eyepatch, and a scorpian tail? Automatic win there. Her mecha looks way too much like Ving-Sept from Diebuster, though. Hopefully she doesn’t die, she looks to awesome to die. And I found it funny how Viral was basically pushed to the side in the new OP. Really think he may defect at some point and join the Gurren Brigade for revenge. And if him and Yoko got together? Now that’d be ironic (since Viral is basically a foil of Kamina). Speaking for Yoko, you have to feel bad for her now. She’s basically been thrust into the leadership position of the group while still grieving for Kamina. She is handling Simon’s situation nicely, knowing to give him some space and that he’ll figure things out when he can. Hopefully that will be next episode so we can see him kickin’ ass again.

GARO: Beast of the White Night Review

Posted by Demian @ 6:28 pm, May 27th, 2007

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Story:

A little while after the series ended, Kouga meets Makai Priestess-in-training Rin, who has been sent from Kantai with a message for him from Priest Amon. Kouga is understandingly skeptical, seeing as how Amon is dead, but begrudgingly drags her home. Rin summons up the spirit of Amon, who tells Kouga that Jabi, his childhood friend who was killed in the series proper, is not dead, but held captive in the Makai Forest. So Kouga sets out for the Makai Forest in Kantai with Rin in tow to rescue Jabi. Elsewhere, an incredibly old and powerful Horror known as Legules appears, his one mission to convert normal people into Horrors as part of his clan and cover the world in them. Rei, a fellow Makai Knight and friend of Kouga’s, is sent to Kantai also, to help in a ceremony that seals Legules.

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In Kantai Kouga meets Tsubasa, the Makai Knight for that area and Rin’s brother. Also a royal ass to everyone around him and a useless fighter. Naturally, he and Kouga hate each other from the get go. After some fighting Tsubasa allows Kouga to enter the Makai Forest in search of Jabi. Inside, Kouga is forced to fight illusions of Kodoma, Barago, Rei, and even Kaoru. After defeating them he finds the tree where Jabi is held, and after defeating it escapes to the real world with Jabi’s body and soul, reviving her. With that out of the way, it’s time to deal with Legules. Every time Legules reappears, a ceremony is held to seal him away by piercing the eclipse with the phospherous arrow, but the arrow is too weak to do the job now, so Jabi has to fix it (part of the reason why Amon wanted to revive her). While she’s doing that, Legules and his Horrors attack. The Makai Knights fight them back, but not before Rin is struck by an attack from Legules. The poison slowly begins killing her, turning her into a Horror for Legules. Tsubasa wants to kill her, but Jabi decides to exchange her blood with her to cure it.

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While she is doing this, Kouga talks to Tsubasa and forces him to admit how much he cares about Rin and that it’s not wrong for Makai Knights to have emotions. He agrees, and appears happy when Rin comes out healthy. Shortly afterwards however, Legules appears, having possessed Tsubasa’s madou ring Goruba, and kidnaps Rin and the phospherous arrow, prompting a chase by everyone after him. A not-so-epic battle ensues, culminating with most of the cast getting their asses kicked. Finally Kouga says enough of this, stabs himself with the Phosperous arrow, gains an awesome pair of wings and a spear, and basically impales Legules. Everyone’s happy; Jabi’s alive, Tsubasa loves his sister, and Rei continues to woo his madou ring. Kouga goes home to find Kaoru there, and the two share a tender embrace, ending the series on an “Aaah~” moment.

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Impressions:

Beast of the White Night is basically a two-hour long special that aired last December, about half a year after the original series ended. It did a few things right, and a few things wrong. Overall enjoyable, bu lacking the basic epic moments of the series. First off, the good things. Jabi was revived, which was awesome. No priestess that sexy deserves to be dead for long. I wished she would of said something about if Kouga saved Kaoru or not, since she was something of a rival there. Rin was probably the only good new character introduced, managing to be somewhat cute and not overly annoying. GARO’s final form was also badass, and its two major fights, against the Makai Tree in the first episode and Legules in the second, were great.

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Now for the bad things. First there’s the arrogant prick Tsubasa. Despite being useless and incredibly weak, he insisted that he was the best throughout and knew what do. Hello, your talking to the guy who not only killed the Dark Knight, but has also killed a hell of a lot more Horrors than you. I think he’d know something about what he was talking about. The fight scenes that didn’t involve Kouga weren’t that interesting, as Rei and Tsubasa mostly got beaten over again and again. Legules himself wasn’t such a great villian. He never even did anything evil, just showed up and started fighting. The whole thing felt underwhelming at best. At least the ending was good, with Kouga meeting Kaoru again, but I wished they would of kissed at least. Oh well, I guess any proper continuation of Garo would need a full series instead of a special.

Touhou☆Star Part 2

Posted by Demian @ 12:04 pm, May 27th, 2007

Someone has a lot of time on their hands.

So Wrong

Posted by Demian @ 11:04 am, May 26th, 2007

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Anyone else think that the placement of that censor sign is a little…odd? Amazing how a relatively innocent scene can be changed entirely by a pink-haired gnome. Ruined for marriage indeed.

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Oh yeah, nothing wrong with this in a children’s anime. I wonder if the fact that Hayate’s a guy makes it okay? Or perhaps all the more disturbing. A trap is fine, too (under censorship laws).

Don’t Underestimate the Getter’s Speed

Posted by Demian @ 10:04 am, May 25th, 2007

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Teh Truth. Ryoma will kick your ass if you do. And does anyone know the song Miyuki sung? As Konata said, it was a manly song.