Opinion Prone

My opinions, let me tell them to you.

Posts Tagged ‘ general ’

You’ve noticed it. Those series’ titles, those band names, and those Japanese celebrities with very particular spellings.

CANAAN is CANAAN, all caps, and not Canaan. LUCKYSTAR has that star in the middle if you can manage to remember the keyboard code for it. LoveCom has a different star, though many will make do with Love*Com. s-CRY-ed is not Scryed. NieA_7 is not anything but. Baccano! has an exclamation mark. L’Arc~en~Ciel is L’Arc~en~Ciel and not L’arc-en-ciel or Larc en ciel. They are tildes, not hyphens, and make sure you capitalize that ‘a’. Dir en grey fans spot the new and the ignorant by chastising those that write Dir en Grey or, heaven forbid, Dir En Grey. Yoshitoshi ABe always has that ‘b’ capitalized; he is never Yoshitoshi Abe. Someone once told me that hyde, the vocalist for L’Arc~en~Ciel, is spelt in unassuming lowercase when associated with that particular band, but spelt as HYDE when associated with his solo work. This doesn’t always seem to be the case, but that’s one hell of a confusing thing to remember, huh?

You're doing it wrong!

You're doing it wrong!

Being a grammar nazi and supremely anal retentive in general, of course I always do my best to ensure I’m spelling things the way they were intended to be spelt, but sometimes, it’s just a pain in the ass, and sometimes, it’s just impossible to tell.

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The fansub and scanlation debate is an old debate and not really something I feel like getting into. This post isn’t really about that, though it’s certainly related. What I want to address is more general: in this economy especially, how much of the entertainment people buy have they already sampled? How much of it do they decide to pick up spontaneously, as they’re browsing through the store aisles?

Read it before you buy it?

Read it before you buy it? Or buy it before you read it?

For anime, how many of your DVDs contain series you haven’t seen at all until you bought them? The number of series being broadcast on television has been dwindling for a while, but more and more companies are streaming their goods online, in whole or part, so there are still plenty of legitimate ways of seeing a series at least partially before buying it (and in addition to DVDs, there are now also budding download-to-own schemes for various platforms). Does anyone walk into the store without an idea of what they want to get? Does anyone just decide to buy a title coincidentally sitting next to the one they intended to get, thinking that it kinda looks interesting?

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So this has always bothered me. A lot of anime, manga, and Japanese video game characters are fourteen or fifteen years old. Makes sense, that’s the primary target audience. That in itself isn’t what bothers me — what bothers me is the huge, huge difference there usually is between the portrayal of the fourteen-year olds and the fifteen-year olds. At fourteen, characters are depicted as innocent, naive, and both childish and childlike. In some cases, I find their behavior applicable to people as young as eight, which is kind of ridiculous. At fifteen, characters become much more mature; they are tougher, hardened to some extent, and a little more serious. Usually, I can very easily imagine those characters being seventeen or eighteen, or sometimes even in their early twenties. Does such a dramatic shift really happen between the two ages?

One year difference?

One year difference? Riiiight.

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I hate spoilers.

For things you actually care about, once revealed, you can never unhear or unread or unsee. It’s incredibly frustrating to be working your way through some material only to have someone blather important plot points to you or inadvertently reveal that a certain character dies later on. As such, I’ve always taken to seeing movies opening night or reading books the day they come out because otherwise, I don’t feel like I can freely browse the Internet until I do.

A little extreme, maybe, but it’s dangerous being a Harry Potter fan when there are trolls roaming the webz with “***** KILLS **********!” flashing in their forum signatures. I’ve never attended a midnight book release for Harry Potter for the same reason — drive-by spoilers. Some people have nothing better to do. I actually blocked a few friends temporarily on Facebook and AIM for the week leading up the Deathly Hallows‘ release because I had zero tolerance for the various nonsense and fake spoilers they were spouting. Spoilers are serious business! Who are you to deprive someone of an experience?

What?! He dies? Noooo!!

What?! He dies? Noooo!!

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So I started rewatching Gundam Wing dub last night. It’s a special series for me since, like many others, it was my catapult into the Gundam franchise on the whole. It was one of my first major fandoms, and I’d seen it in its entirety two or three times back in glory days of Toonami, but it’s been a good seven or eight years or so since I’d seen it last (and it feels much longer than that). Like some things I’ve revisited from the past, I was half-expecting it to be terrible, and to some extent, it was. The characters are hilariously unobservant and brash in ways that don’t even begin to make sense. The dubbing also offers some choice lines in amazingly awkward voices. There are many logic and realism gaps. I laughed a lot.

And yet, even with all the lulz, it’s still so epic when it counts. I’m still enjoying this way too much. Treize takes over the world in seven episodes in one of the most awesome coup de’tats ever. There are so many political things I’m noticing and understanding now that I didn’t even notice the first time around, and it’s just a lot fun to revisit something while simultaneously gaining a whole new experience. Nostalgia and sentimentality is undoubtedly what’s allowing me to forgive all of the more blatant flaws — I’d never accept such huge logic and realism gaps in a recent show, as evidenced by my dislike of Gundam 00, but for Wing, it’s all right.

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So in Code Geass, Emperor Charles zi Britannia is obviously British because Britannia is a glorified, alternate-universe Britain. Thus he has an English name. Makes sense. Since it’s a Japanese show though, they have to transliterate the English name into Japanese, and Charles becomes シャルル (Sharuru). This has always bothered me. I just don’t see the connection between “Charles” and “Sharuru.” Of course I understand that many foreign words translated into Japanese sound strange because of their limited phonetic alphabet, and most of the time, I’d say they do pretty okay. But in this case, I’m thoroughly convinced that they could have picked a better transliteration with the sounds that they have. チャルズ (Charuzu), for example — not worlds different, but different enough to be closer, right?

Further, “Sharuru” seems to be some kind of universally accepted Japanese version of “Charles” because Code Geass was not the only series where I heard the transliteration. Who decided that “Charles” should be “Sharuru”? If someone else decided that they wanted to transliterate it as “Charuzu,” would they be wrong? Are there multiple ways to import a name into another language?

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Picking Favorites

May 15, 2009 Editorial 5 Comments

So I have this problem with the listed favorites in my MAL profile (the anime moreso than the manga). I feel like the list is out of date because I haven’t really updated it since I joined the site last June, and I’ve seen at least a dozen very good series since then. So many series could easily move into that empty fifth slot, and so many other series seem like they’re viable contenders for the titles that are already there. How do you go about choosing? Which factors are more relevant than others? And for a public listing, how much are you going to invest in using your declared favorites to brand yourself?

As far as the branding goes, my favorites list kind of makes me laugh. The only real point of unity is mecha, which I didn’t realize was something I cared for as much as I do until I compiled the list in the first place. What kind of person do I come across with such a list? Gurren Lagann is almost a cop out because there are very few people that don’t care for it; perhaps having it there makes me ordinary. Code Geass is something that might start some polarizing debates on the aniblogosphere, but the first season is almost universally accepted to be more worthy than the second. So maybe that makes me oridinary also. Gundam SEED seems to be hated on a grand scale and many Gundam fans seem to associate liking it with being ignorant. Stand Alone Complex is another title that faces little criticism, but a few dislike it for its rampant politics. So maybe having it there makes me look smart.

So, what does this list say about me on the whole? I am mostly an ordinary mecha fan that enjoys both testosterone-filled gar and intelligent political drama, but is ignorant towards the Gundam franchise. Not really sure if that’s the exact branding I would choose for myself, but I wouldn’t say the description is wildly inaccurate either.

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I hear this a lot: “I used to like such and such, but the fans ruined it for me.” And it bugs me every time I hear it; after all, why should the fans have anything to do with the actual series or game or whatever else? If you like it, then you will like it — I don’t understand why so many people give power to the masses by letting them affect their opinion of something. A series is not its fans, and the fans do not make the series. Sure, sometimes it might be annoying hearing fangirls and boys fawn over the various bishounen and moeblobs from your series of choice, if the only reason you decide to dislike those bishounen and moeblobs is because of the fans, then you’re not thinking for yourself anymore.

Case in point, I love Kingdom Hearts — okay, it’s not an anime or manga, but I think it’s a good example because the fans are notoriously obnoxious. I think the first three games were excellent (I am sad that so many people forget about Chain of Memories), and I love the ending to KH2. I like almost all of the characters and enjoy what we do see of their in-game relationships. Does it annoy me that fangirls seem to like slashing every single male character in the entire fandom? (Regardless of whether they ever actually officially interact? lol@AxelxDemyx?) It used to a little, but really, I am a huge proponent of the “to each his own” ideal. I may not like what you like, but I will support to the death your right to like it. And since I’m active on deviantART and people like to bitch about various fandoms always getting frontpage attention: I may not like what you draw, but I will support to the death your right to draw it. And if it’s popular? Good for you!

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I picked up a Fullmetal Alchemist Flamel’s cross necklace for $15 at Ikkikon 2007. I’m a big fan of the symbolism and think the crossover relevance to actual alchemy is interesting. I wore it nonstop for about a year and a half. Seriously, I think I only took that thing off on three or four occasions in all that time (and I’m pretty sure a few of those times was so that I could wear my Kingdom Hearts crown necklace instead ;3). I had fun telling people that, no, I’m not a medical student, when they thought it was caduceus. It was also a pretty good conversation starter with the few I encountered that knew what it was. Necklaces are good. You can proudly proclaim your fandom without being overly obvious, and those who don’t understand will just think it’s a pretty design and never know that you’re a flaming weeaboo!

Unfortunately, at the end of that year and a half period, I found that I was developing a weird rash on my neck about where the necklace was hanging. I ignored it for a while, but it only got worse. I didn’t want to think it was the necklace’s fault, but it was kind of hard to deny. So I took it off. In about two weeks, the rash was gone. I put the necklace back on. The rash was back in another week. Damn.

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Man. I’ve been trying to tap out this review for Code Geass R2 all weekend. I think maybe I’m trying too hard to word things nicely because despite everything it did indeed fail at, I still liked it. Liked it a lot even. Not sure. Maybe I should give it a bit more time before I try to write it. In the meantime, I did manage to revise both my original Code Geass review and my Gurren Lagann review so they don’t sound as retarded.

It’s been hard to get Geass out of my head. Today is the first Sunday in months where I won’t have any new episodes to watch! (I can’t watch the new season of 00 until I finish the first season, lol…) As such, I’m going to take this time to write about product placement and hilariously overt advertising in anime. My friend Andres recently wrote about it in the context of video games and lamented the fact that the American audience has been so keen on rejecting it. And I’m with him — why are people so against the idea of advertisement in their entertainment?

Most people seem to be against this whole idea of “selling out” and doing things “just for the money.” I can understand and will agree with that sentiment for things that take away from the value of the product, such as making unplanned sequels to popular series. Forcing a franchise usually only ends up hurting the property, but I’ve never found advertising to be intrusive or annoying? How distracting is it, really, to have a Coke on the table and Toyotas driving in the street? How distracting is it, really, to have a guy drive down the highway and pass a Samsung billboard. Do you really even notice?

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