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1  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: March 21, 2012, 01:50:49 PM
Finished RahXephon, great series, but my initial impressions were correct, damn confusing.

Whenever my anime-literate friends ask what RahXephon is about--having seen the DVDs on my shelf--I reply, "It's like Evangelion but with (slightly) less bullshit."

How accurate would you say that description is?

    ----   

Finished Mawaru Penguindrum. It was actually less crazy than I had been led to believe it would be, but I still loved it. There were a few times I was utterly convinced that the writers just sat in a room laughing while they came up with ridiculous plot twists, but it worked. Definitely not a series you can approach with 100% serious-face, but if you just want to enjoy watching something, it's your show.

There may have been some manly tears.
2  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: March 18, 2012, 10:46:42 AM
Marathoned Bakemonogatari, and Nisemonogatari right after. Perfect timing to finish Nisemono- just as the last episode aired.

They were everything I'd heard they were. Loved every second. The use/abuse of kanji could get a little jarring as my Japanese skills are non-existent, but the translator's notes were pretty good about explaining things I couldn't pick up just from the syllables being used. Animation was, of course, incredible (especially watching in 1080p), and the action was brutal and awesome when it happened. I really enjoy that I had to do some genuine thinking/paying attention to follow some of the dialogue; it was kind of surprising to realize I'd watched an entire episode covering maybe two conversations, and wasn't bored at all.

Nisemonogatari was a little more light-hearted in that regard, but I don't think that detracted at all. From what some people were saying I expected nothing but fan service all day, and while there was some, I didn't find it obnoxious at all; generally that stuff annoys me more than anything--unless I'm watching something for the fan service, anyways.

Now to wait for the movie this year, and the reported 7 other adaptation of the LNs. Very excited.

Also started watching Mawaru Penguindrum. I'm not even sure what to say. I've laughed out loud nearly every episode so far. 7 episodes or so in and I would highly recommend it already (barring a train wreck later on).
3  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: February 22, 2012, 12:10:19 PM
There's this thread in the Katawa Shoujo forums (you know, that VN with the disabled girls and what not) and one guy asked if people has started to watch anime more or less in the same style.

So, someone mentions Clannad and I start reading the entire story of it in Wikipedia and later saw two scenes of the series on YouTube, and... goddamn this is sad. I didn't thought that it was that kind of story.

Thought, I notice around the years that School Days was a big thing in the Internet that there started to appear a lot of series with some seriously sad or fucked up stories. Or maybe I had the epiphany that every anime ever made is like that (for the most part).

Clannad is heartwrenching. but good. School Days is just fucked.
4  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: February 17, 2012, 03:34:35 AM
Guilty Crown continues to do nothing particularly new, but still be enjoyable as all hell. Funny how that works.

This latest episode seems like it was setting the stage for the end game, but I honestly have no idea where the fuck they're going to go from there!
5  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: January 27, 2012, 04:51:28 PM
Can somebody explain to me what is so great about Guilty Crown?  I'm not trolling or anything, but after reading so many positive comments about it I tried to give it a shot and watched a few eps...but I felt completely let down.  It's just another formulaic sci-fi mecha show with a main character who acquires deus ex machina power and otherwise suffers from generic shounen protagonist syndrome.  I tried to give the show a decent chance so I watched like four episodes but in the end I really couldn't care at all about any of the characters.  And the actual action was uninspired and predictable.  And the overarching storyline is just...stupid.

But I hear so many people going on about how great this show is...I don't get.

I've heard similar descriptions from people who liked the show, albeit painted in a more positive light, so it's probably down to tastes. It'd be like me asking "what's so great about Sailor Moon", or, for something you could actually relate to, "what's so great about Final Fantasy 6" - no matter what way you describe it to me, it's probably not gonna appeal to me because we just have completely different tastes.

Another way to look at it--and this seems to be the way I've (unconsciously) approached the show--is that you don't always want something trying to revolutionize a genre. Tropes are tropes because they work, and sometimes you just want something that works. This is probably part of the reason why, say, the Tales games are so popular. They don't really do much in the way of "New Thing", but you still might get a good experience out of it.

I'm enjoying Guilty Crown. I may not try to argue that it's the best show of this or last season, but I'm still just enjoying it, tropes and cliches and all.
6  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: January 24, 2012, 03:47:12 PM
can you all recommend and anime for a newbie? I grew up w/ shit like robotech, fist of the northstar, records of the lodoss war (some of it)....
I don't like the "dragonball" type shit. Persona-style has always intrigued the fuck out of me but I don't want to watch an anime of that until I actually finish one of them.

It'd help if you recommend one available on hulu or netflix

try Darker than Black.  it's got a decent amount of action but it's more mature, not just a bunch of spikey haired people doing powerups and ninja jutsus.  it feels very "not anime" as far as anime go.  I think sci fi fans could enjoy it even if they don't normally watch anime

Also fairly confusing, just in case that's not your thing. Part of what some people consider confusing is that it doesn't hold your hand and makes you think about things for yourself (good!), but some things are just... confusing.
7  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Megaupload seized / shut down on: January 23, 2012, 06:21:24 PM
Agreed. I'm not trying to argue that piracy is some how the 'right' choice. I'm just saying where, personally, I see a large part of it stemming from. I honestly believe that if companies offered their products in ways that were easy to use, convenient (see: Steam), and were reasonably priced, we would see huge drops in just how much piracy actually occurs. Not to say it would solve the problem entirely, of course not, but you would probably see more Average Joe's watching it on Netflix rather than downloading it illegally, simply for the convenience. As it is now, it's much more convenient to stream or download a movie illegally than rent it, and very few people are willing to buy a DVD for a movie they may only watch one time, ever.

Looking at your PSP example, I wonder how differently things would have panned out if support had been focused on the PSN rather than on UMD right from the start. It's quite possible that things would have ended up the same, but my gut feeling tells me there may have been more success for the PSP.

One of the big things I want to impress is that it's not as though illegal downloads are my first stop for everything. I've never downloaded a game illegally (aside from, debate-ably, some ROMs for games which I already owned). I maintain a Crunchyroll, Netflix, and Funimation account monthly, even when I'm not getting much use out of them, in an attempt to support industries that I love. I try to find other ways to affordably access what I'm looking for. If that doesn't get me what I want, then yes, I will pirate it. I am not interested in overpaying for something when I can get it free. I admit, the moral choice would be to boycott rather than pirate, but I am not a perfect person, and I don't want to wait to watch a show I like because Studio X wont pull their collective head out of their ass. Am I in the wrong? Very probably. Are they also in the wrong? Hell yes they are.
8  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Megaupload seized / shut down on: January 23, 2012, 04:30:00 PM
Not to be anal, but if you want to call it what it is, the term is pirating. The term has a rather different meaning than stealing.
Stealing implies robbing something leaving none to who had it, while pirating means creating a perfect duplicate.

If we're going to argue connotation, we're probably going to go in circles, but I see the distinction you're making.

If we're going with dictionary definition, software/music/tv/whatever piracy is stealing. But again I see your point and it is a fair one.

If nothing else, my biggest point in all this continues to be that if you're going to do this, you have to be honest about it and admit you are taking something that is being made available at a cost for nothing. It may be a cost you are not willing to pay or that you disagree with due to a number of philosophical or business issues, but you're still taking something available for a price without paying that price. That is what I mean by stealing.

Yes. In some cases, I do take for free products for which money is being asked. By some definitions--yours in particular--that is stealing. By others, it is not; the dictionary definition of theft is this:
Quote from: Dictionary.com
1. the act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny.
2. an instance of this.

Carrying away implies physically taking something from someone, leaving them nothing. As Annubis pointed out, this is not what pirating is. But in the end, this is a pointless semantic discussion. Very few people are arguing that piracy is perfectly pure, morally. 

My base point, I guess, is that the price of things is not meant to be set by the creator; the price of something is set by the consumer. By this I mean that if a creator asks too much, people don't buy their product. For me, and many others, too much money is being asked for shoddy services; the main goal of piracy for such people is not the cheap aquisition of a property. Rather, we don't want to support archaic/draconian business practices. I do see where you're coming from, in that these people should probably simply boycott the product rather than take it for free, but hell, no one is perfect, and that's inconvenient. I don't want to miss out on an awesome show like Game of Thrones because HBO is too stubborn to put it on Netflix (or something to that effect).

In the meantime, all the big media conglomerates need to do to fix the problem is shut up, swallow their pride, and change with the times. Instead they're doing everything they can to undermine their customers, and that is absolute bullshit.
9  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Megaupload seized / shut down on: January 23, 2012, 02:59:40 PM
An interesting way to look at piracy that hasn't been touched on in this thread is the stance Gabe Newell (co-founder of Valve) takes towards it. That is, piracy is not a monetary issue, but a convenience issue. It's not universally true, of course, but a lot of people do not pirate music/movies/games/television shows because they can't afford them. Rather, they pirate them for the ease-of-access that pirated media gives.

Take a look at Steam. Where many publishers have controversial DRM mixed into their software that makes their games more difficult to play (can only play from the registered computer, can only play while online, etc), games bought on Steam fly in the face of this: so long as you log into your account, you can download and play any game in your library from any computer. You can also set up your account to play your games offline if they're already installed. So you buy your game in a digital copy, generally slightly cheaper than in-store retail prices. It's delivered immediately, over the internet, with no hassle, and without arbitrary restrictions placed on the use of the product you just paid for. And Steam is hugely successful, despite digital copies of games being being, generally, easier to pirate.

It's not just games, either. Louis C.K. recently released a new stand-up special over the internet, with no physical copy. You pay 5 dollars and receive two streams and 4 downloadable copies, instantly. All you need to do is pay through PayPal or Amazon--and you don't even need a PayPal account. The digital copy is a straight video file with no protection that anyone could turn around and post on the internet or in torrent files, requiring no cracks of any kind.

He made a million dollars in twelve days. All of that money went directly to him, where he used it to pay his employees, donated to charity, recouped costs, and paid his bills. Not a red cent went to any DVD publishers. Sure, some people probably downloaded it illegally because they're cheap, but I know that's the first time I've ever paid for a comedy special rather than watch it on YouTube or something. It was cheap to buy and ridiculously easy to get a hold of, and I think the sales show that people are willing to pay the money so long as they're not being jerked around. But jerk them around, and they will take the easier route, which is pirating.

Television is the same. I don't have a cable or satellite subscription at my apartment at all, since I have no desire to be (somewhat) bound by the scheduling, nor do I appreciate 3 minutes of adds for every 6 minutes of content. I also have no interest in paying for 5 other specialty channels if I want to watch, say HBO. So, until recently, I made liberal use of MegaVideo for my television fix.

But I also have a Netflix account, and always check to see if it's up there before I turn to streaming elsewhere. If I really enjoy the show, I will buy the DVDs--as I did for Community, despite having watched every available episode at the time. If networks would stop their quibbling and embrace services like Netflix (preferably only one, please and thank you) they would all be getting some of my money. Instead, they make it damn near impossible to watch at my convenience or without price-gouging me, and so I resort to methods that don't play that bullshit.

I realize this is getting pretty anecdotal, but I can't help but point out that as an anime fan, I have downloaded a lot of shows in my day. But I also have a Crunchyroll subscription, and just recently added a Funimation subscription as well. These days I only turn to fansubbers when I can't get it legally in a way that supports content creators in some way.

I don't have evidence to back it up, but I feel like the general consensus, even among (most) pirates, is this: If you offer a quality product for a reasonable price, don't jerk your customers around, and the creators are actually going to see our money rather than shady middlemen, people will buy things. Instead we get DRM, ads in things we're already paying for (DVDs, for example), a huge pain in the ass when we want to access content we've purchased, and the creators see next to nothing.

I sympathize with, though don't agree with, the idea that piracy is stealing. However, I think that the only thing that is allowing piracy to be a problem at all are the very people decrying it. Bring business models into this century, and I think a lot of the problem might work itself out.
10  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: January 21, 2012, 06:04:17 PM
Now I just need to figure out what to watch next...do I finish Angel Beat or The Third? Or do I start up Baccano! or Trigun?

Finish Angel Beats if you at all enjoyed what you've seen. Very good pay off, emotionally speaking.

Between Trigun and Baccano!... Tough call. Both are amazing, but Trigun is much more traditional from a storytelling standpoint. Baccano! on the otherhand can be difficult to follow if you don't adapt well to the... uniqueness.

Speaking personally, I would likely suggest Trigun just a little bit more highly, but it's very close. Vash's attitude can also grate on you early on.
11  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: January 21, 2012, 09:17:16 AM
Guilty Crown seems to be progressing well. A little slow, but I think a lot of that has to do with watching it week to week. Finally big shit is happening, and if I'm correct about where they're going with this, then hot damn.

Other than that, I haven't watched much. That doesn't mean that I haven't queue'd up a bunch for myself though. I have to:

  • Finish Wagnaria!!
  • Finish Un-Go
  • Start Bakemonogatari
  • Start Mararun Penguindrum
  • Start Ben-to
  • Start Deadman Wonderland
  • Start Amagami SS
  • Start A Certain Scientific Railgun
  • Start Welcome the the NHK!
and
  • Wait for the start of Black Rock Shooter

All of which I've queued up either in on of my various subscription sites, or obtained otherwise during the last few weeks where I haven't watched much....

I almost hope at least one of them is bad enough to drop, but they all came pretty highly recommended.
12  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: January 20, 2012, 06:56:12 PM
I just got to see fullmetal alchemist sacred star of milos in theaters on last sunday. Up until this point, I have seen the original series, brotherhood, conqueror of shamballa and read the manga and I greatly enjoyed them all. I had fairly high hopes for this new movie as I have noot been disappointed by FMA before, but I was TERRIBLY let down....

The hardest part for me to deal with was the animation, WOW, it was soooo bad, like 80's anime quality almost. Looking at the "chimaras" hurt my head. The characters shown upclose had as detailed animation as the ones in the background a lot of the time.

The story was good, but I guess it must have taken place at some point before the first movie and was just jammed in somewhere. Also, in the anime, it was a huge deal to have a chimera that understands english, but in the movie they have fully functioning chimeras. Pft! Also, Winry and the military were very jammed into the story, and didnt really do anything benificial for the movie. It shouldnt have been that hard to fit them in properly. The movie didn't add anything to the overall storyline, essentially, this movie was a long filler episode.

I really, really, wanted to like this movie, but I was actually glad when it was over and will just have to forget it ever happened.

Ok, I'll admit it. I was not expecting this to NOT suck out loud.

Good to see my expectations were met. (Also seriously, why did they go back to that terrible original anime continuum to begin with? Did people really like The Archinator that much? Hell, even one-eyed Mustang has nothing on completely blind Mustang.)

Plus if you enjoyed Conquer of Shamballa then you have no taste (although sure, who doesn't love a steampunk Nazi invasion? It just didn't fit within the tone of the rest of the series at all. Especially once they started opening portals by killing alchemists/homunculus with Lances of Longionuses (or whatever they're called).)


Additionally I've been watching something called Real Drive recently which is basically Ghost in the Shell but without the plot or the characters. Just a slice of life show about a sea based metaphor for the internet following a 70+ year old diver who just woke up from a 50 year comma, his school girl ward, her older brother, an android chick/bodyguard, and a cyborg who was the main guy's old friend back before the accident. The only things I dislike about this show is the fact that sometimes they jump around a bit too much without leading it effectively and both the OP and ED which feature cheesy J-Rock that really doesn't fit within the context of the show.

Sacred Star of Milos is set during Brotherhood.
13  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: January 03, 2012, 05:28:54 PM
Just marathoned [C]: The Money of Soul and Possibility, or [C] - CONTROL. I was drawn to it by a screen cap I'd seen on a Crunchyroll news post, and thought the character designs/animation were both unique and gorgeous. I was not disappointed.

The show itself--the story in particular--is quite unlike anything else I've seen before. Sure, it uses some anime staples, but it uses them well. Moreover, the economics allegory that is the foundation for the show, while confusing at times, worked fairly well (to someone not trained in economics, at least). I enjoyed the shit out of it; kind of wish it was longer, or the epilogue had gone on longer at least.

Wouldn't necessarily put it on a list of my favourites, but I will be rec'ing it to some people, including anyone reading this. Very good watching.

I like shows that have an economic underlay as its catch.Is it similar to Spice & Wolf with its focus on trade,bartering and currency?

Not even close, sorry. Heh. More like corporate trading re-imagined into Pokemon-like battling.
14  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: January 03, 2012, 08:05:38 AM
Just marathoned [C]: The Money of Soul and Possibility, or [C] - CONTROL. I was drawn to it by a screen cap I'd seen on a Crunchyroll news post, and thought the character designs/animation were both unique and gorgeous. I was not disappointed.

The show itself--the story in particular--is quite unlike anything else I've seen before. Sure, it uses some anime staples, but it uses them well. Moreover, the economics allegory that is the foundation for the show, while confusing at times, worked fairly well (to someone not trained in economics, at least). I enjoyed the shit out of it; kind of wish it was longer, or the epilogue had gone on longer at least.

Wouldn't necessarily put it on a list of my favourites, but I will be rec'ing it to some people, including anyone reading this. Very good watching.
15  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: December 25, 2011, 11:23:34 AM
I remember liking E7 when I was watching it, but now mostly what I remember about it was that it had some amazing animation. I can't say I remember very much about the plot at all, aside from some general bullet points.

As I remember though, the way they ended it really didn't warrant having a sequel. But, popular stuff gonna sequel I guess.

It was wrapped up pretty well for the most part, yes; which is, I imagine, why the promotional posters point toward a generational sequel. The kid looks too much like Eureka to be anything but her and Renton's son. The driving points of the original series were wrapped up, but the underlying causes/tensions less so. I can definitely see them managing to spin things the right way.

To paraphrase a poster on a better site "PleasedontfuckthisupPleasedontfuckthisupPleasedontfuckthisup...."

If they do fuck it up, I will cry and then do my best to forget it ever existed. If they don't, we get a spectacular show. Much more to gain than to lose, I feel.

Still, "PleasedontfuckthisupPleasedontfuckthisup...."
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