Thursday, April 10, 2014

End of The Stream More Thoughts: Winter Stream: Nagi no Asukara

With this not only the end of a series but the end of an era at this blog before I get to my thoughts on the last episode of Nagi no Asukara which are not positive in the slightest allow me to write a little more about why I'm going into semi-retirement. honestly it's all about how I use my time and my spiritual growth I know often times people say that their relationship with God is the most important thing in their lives but I really mean that and am cutting back on things that feel wasteful of times I could be dedicating to spiritual exercises on top of my disfranchisement with the state of Anime as of late wich is very much based around franchises and existing properties. Very little original content is made and what is original is poorly executed, so with this I sign off on the concept of reviewing series episode by episode and leave it to the fine folks at Japanator to work out something worth writing. Now on to the final episode of Nagi no Asukara this was a series that had a lot of promise early on but as I've said repeatedly fell into hackneyed cliché and overly exposition writing that insults the intelligence of its audience while the characters never grew out of being one-dimensional archetypes and wasted opportunities at writing good stories about a stellar secondary cast along with what seemed like 12 episodes worth of material stretched too thin into 26 episodes in conclusion this series has lovely background art and some occasional moments of real emotion and sentiment but if this where a prose novel it would be poetic descriptions of land and the world the characters inhabit and characters that feel like a sophomoric attempt at writing a romance novel when you have no idea how to write romance in short to paraphrase Eiri Yuki from Gravitation "what is this love some trite cliché." Also as a last note on my viewing I'm only watching two Anime during the spring (the before mentioned)Kamigami no Asobi about a High School girl enlisted by Zeus to teach Bishonen versions of mythological gods about love wich I'm only watching for two reasons Saori Hayami voices the female lead and Bishonen Hades. The second is IS The ORder A Rabbit a Moe series about a café staffed by girls who are named after various drinks simply watching this because Maaya Uchida, Risa Taneda, and Ayane Sakura all have roles in it and what little animation I've seen in previews looks clean and adorable. I'm also not going to reivew either I was thinking of doing a first impresions but with personal issues comeing on fast I'll have to pass on that as I have more pressing concerns now. With all of this I am not done with Manga or Anime I'm simply done trying to be part of "the conversation" in fandom and will instead stay in my own "four-foot square". I don't know what the future will bring but who knows best of luck to all but I'm done with this aspect of my time as a reviewer it's been great but I'm done now.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Winter Stream: Nobungagun: Final Thoughts

Honestly what did I just watch? The last episode brings the two-part "Stone Forest arc" to an end, while also dropping a huge plot reveal about Jack The Ripper's true identity in one of the more interesting fictional iterations of the true identity of the mysterious Victorian serial killer. While planing strategy and team work win the day in the battle. This is very much a series that could have ended up with a cast defined solely around wich historical figure they are empowered by but instead Sio in particular comes off as adorably awkward and stalwart in her defense of humanity. While the second half is mostly a comedic antidote to the hot-blooded action of the first half in particular Hunter's epic backfire of his plan to get into Galiko's good graces and the episode closing on what looks like a possible start of a relationship between Jack and Sio. This is a series that the ethos is "just go with it it's awesome." From giant monsters to school girl's empowered by Warring States era historical figures. It's a creative often strange mess of a series that felt padded out in certain episodes but also captured how teamwork is exhibited to the voice acting of the Seiyuu from Shiori Mutō's début as Sio capturing the alternate parts of her personality skillfully to Sumire Uesaka continuing to be a real "secret weapon" of a Seiyuu for her consistently good work.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

State of The Blog and My Relationship to Fandom

With only one last episode of Nagi No Asukara left before I permanently retire The Stream as a feature I thought it would be a good idea to explain how this blog is going to act now since I have a lot of personal issues and other things to be dealing with. Honestly I love writing reviews that's why if anything you can consider this less me giving up reviewing completely as more a semi-retirement. Along with learning time management, I'll still review a Manga volume I'm in the process of working on a review for Dance In The Vampire Bund: Memories of Sledgehammer volume two but still need to re-read volume one before I review it so be on a look out for that I also may end up doing a first impression Anime review of Kamigami no Asobi as well. I also have withdrawn because trying to be part of larger fandom community is too painful given my devout Christian beliefs and ethics. I can't change my mind about Christianity anymore than I could change my eye color figuratively speaking. It's become abundantly clear that my Christianity is not welcome in large sectors of Fandom and to simply state something from a Biblical point of view in Anime fandom is calling for me to be labeled a bigot by some. Along with a distressing entitled mentality and an alternate unreflecting consumption of and over analysis of Manga and Anime, also most of the bloggers I respected early on as I have stated before have quit blogging for various reasons, I'm not quitting simply scaling back while also I've had to put up with misinterpretations, misrepresentations of my morals and the simple ignominy of being ignored while the same "marry go-round" of "same minded" Manga bloggers slowly give in more and more to a creeping hegemony. While I don't think Manga blogerdom will ever devolve into a "remember that time when that thing happened that was cool" thought pattern, I still worry that the online reviewers are so stuck reviewing what they already like or the "professional" aspect of their job that reflective thought is secondary to "Getting the job done". Again I only live in my own small fandom world and it deeply saddens me to feel like I've been "run out on a rail," but I simply need to disengage from fandom as it was slowly killing me emotionally and no one wanted to discuss the ethical or moral implications of Art wich are questions I've had since I started reviewing almost three years ago and as a Christian I have certain ethical, moral, and religious beliefs I can not deny them despite how "intolerant" they make me. This is not a hit piece against anyone who was part of Manga Bookshelf (specficly Melinda Beasi or a certain commenter over at Ash Brown's blog). But simply me saying if me simply saying I see Transgenderism as unGodly and flagging it as a violation of a poorly defined comment policy. Or any other aspects of a mindset that fears simple disagreement I only every sought clarification so I can more accurately understand my opponent's position or stated my viewpoint in a way that I figured was "tolarent" in the sense that I was aiming for being irenic but also truthful. It's also none of the people who have disagreed with me the past's fault that I'm gone I simply find it sad that supposedly mature and tolerant people are so offended by me simply stating a difference of opinion or an "all or nothing" defense of freedom of speech that strikes me as illogical. In conclusion while I love Anime and Manga and respect the authors who inspired me to get into reviewing (Fred Patten and Frederik L. Schodt). The whole anonymity of the internet along with a progressive post-modern moral nihilism that is endemic of our culture as whole makes discussing the Anime and Manga I love progressively more difficult and it's better for my spiritual and mental health to bow out with my dignity intact and realize that in the end I'm right not because I say I'm right but because I am objectively proven to be right on matters of morality, art, and faith. Mark my words Post-Modernism will kill the art of the review in the coming years unless some serious grounding in aesthetics is not take up by popular Manga bloggers and reviewers. Also fans need to quit taking a consuming more=better fan mentality. That is to say quit pirating stuff than claiming poverty when you are buying all kinds of other things you are not a fan if you do not financial support the industry you profess to love. With all this Simply say I'm done with reviewing Anime series episode by episode and engageing in any kind of discusion in the greater online Manga and Anime fandom as it is simply casting my pearls before swine. Not to even begin on the personal interaction I have had with other "fans" in real life who don't bother to think about why they like something no even a "I don't know I find it funny" it's litterly I don't know why at all. Not to mention the unthinking aspects of what it means to consume "violence porn." Not being an elitist but if you can't even know why you like something or think about the deeper implications of what you read why are you even reading than? I get that Manga is entertainment but you like something for some reason you should at least know why mere consumption accomplishes nothing. Also celerebity as a concept should be dead in fandom and on that I bid you all adiu

Winter Stream: Wake Up Girls: Final Thoughts

After the end this series is definition of the ethos found in Shonen Anime and Manga (the never say die, hard work and friendship tropes), even though it's an "Idol Anime," I really liked this series from establishing the relationships with all the girls and even the rivals in I-1 Club along with an ending that leaves it open for more episodes but closes this chapter a good series that left me feeling good while also at some points to think on why I like what I like in this series. Solid entertainment

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Winter Stream: Nagi no Asukara Episode 25

Ugh this episode gives with one hand and takes with another, I'm simply happy that after the next episode this will be over because the amount of contrived, overwrought and flat characterization will be over and I can't be happier from telling the audience what anyone with the least ability to read between the lines has come ton know nothing happens and even Miuna who had an interesting charter arc gets reduced to a mere plot device and damsel in distress archetype. I could get angrier about this series but when it reeks of this little effort in the next to the last episode getting angry means nothing because it's obvious no one cared enough to try. Not to mention I still after twenty-five episodes have no idea why Hikari has female cast embers falling for him sure he has his nice moments but it's nothing but a bad Tsundere archetype that never grew into a real character Chisaki at least gets some character development and yet nothing changes everything is still so static and unchanging. Not out of some greater artistic vision I feel because repeating earlier story arcs simply make the series easier to write and again lack of effort and style over substance are the main problems with this series and have been from the beginning and I have little hope that anything concrete will happen in the last episode instead simply left with a slap dash conclusion or an "open" ending that's only used as a way to have a second season.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

D-Frag!: Final Thoughts

A series about a juvenile delinquent Kenji Kazama who gets strong armed into joining a strange club of gamer girls with a yen for using element based attacks, all the while the strange cast of side characters whirl around the Provisional Game Club like a hurricane of absurd slap stick. D-Frag! The anime adaptation of an ongoing Manga series by Tomoya Haruno, there is not much to compare it too slightly slice of life and self-aware of the conventions of "Otaku bait" series, D-Frag! ended up being enjoyable in a way that a series like Haganai never was as D-Frag makes an odd cast feel realistic while also having a wink and smile sense of humor to everything from Moe tropes, tournament arcs, and even a relatively cute girl who is known pejoratively as "Barfy." I also have to appreciate the series for making Takao such an enjoyable Tsundere while also never takeing away from her obvious interest in video games. In short this was a screw ball series that was enjoyable for its humor and the cast of characters who range from likeable to a one note walking punchline like the hot-blooded masochist Ataru, while voice acting is hands down solid al around particularly I single out Chiwa Saito who voiced The Game Development Club (temp)'s co-founder Chitose Karasuyama who goes from being a snarky sadistic troll to proud defender of her best friend Roka Shibasaki and adorably Moe in her unguarded moments as well all aided by Saito's gruff, caustic and haughty line delivery. While Kana Hanazawa is able to turn on a dime from self-consciously Moe to utterly terrifying as the diminutive Roka. Not including the various stand out bit parts from Kouki Miyata as Roka's erstwhile admirer Hachi Shiou Miyata's obvious relish of playing up Shiou's fetish for dark and cramped places makes his part memorable for the hot-blooded camp he brings to it also Emiri Katou (who I praised highly as Akatsuki in Log Horizon) made a memorable cameo Noe Kazama (Kenji's little sister) being able to pull off both tough tom-boy and obviously "freaked" girl after her run in with The Game Development Club (temp). All and all a good way to waste some time while also showing an amount of effort by Seiyuu, character design and art style range from standard anime character design to strange SD style to obvious visual nods to everything from 8-Bit video games to obvious visual parodies of Anime and Manga tropes even what looks like a Space Adventure Cobra reference at one point.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Winter Stream: Soni-Ani: Super Sonico The Animation: Final Thoughts

What can be said what was trying to be a multi media franchise, using the titular Sonico became an odd mix of slice of life, surreal humor and heart warming moments. In particular Sonico actually had a number of good character moments that show she's more than a coldly calculated moe blob merchandising machine, along with haveing depths and intrests outside of simply being an popular idol. While some of the animation shows that some of this was handled on a budget like in my Log Horizon piece I repect when a studio is able to use a small amount of money to make something that is their's and Studio White Fox did this as well. Although some of the performince secens are so obviously CGI it's hard to look at but the odd cast and over all warmth of the series shines through makeing this an enjopyable Moe series that mixes music, odd pop culture refrence and asides on charcters and even a horde of cats that Sonico keeps. I really hope if this does'nt get another season that Nitro+ does something with it's othe cast of charcters becuese this was such a soothing and peaceful series along with being able to juggle calmness with humor.