Friday, April 11, 2014

Rewind: Trigun

I watched Trigun after seeing it featured several times on Beneath the Tangles, most memorably around Easter a couple years ago. At first, I didn't think I'd like it. It sported an "episodic" tag on Anime-Planet, and I had a serious bias against "episodic" anime. How could anything with that tag have good character and plot development? Plus, I didn't like what I'd seen of the visuals - it was gritty and a bit dated in my eyes.

Finally, Beneath the Tangles and other sources wore me down. I decided to give Trigun a solid try. Turns out that it does have character development and a significant underlying plot. It's set in the future, on a deserty planet that echoes America's Old West in style and action. The hero, Vash "the Stampede," has a goofy and open personality, but he remains an enigma in many ways until the end. He has serious skill and is nearly invulnerable, but he's also sympathetic - basically, an all-around likable protagonist.

Vash in Episode 25 at a sentimental moment. I forget the details of the
moment, but the cross belongs to a friend of his.
Throughout the 26 episodes, we learn about Vash and his past as he makes friends, beats bad guys, and sidesteps the bounty hunters who are after the 60 billion on his head. In the end, the mystery of his nature is solved. There's a climatic confrontation, which I enjoyed, and the show wraps up as well as any non-episodic anime.

I liked Trigun a lot. It's not even close to making my list of favorites, but I'm glad I caved in and watched it. I needed to put my discrimination against episodic anime away for good. It's not smart to judge shows based on their plot style, animation style, genre, or pace before I even watch them. It's a lesson I've had to learn through experiences like this.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Swamped: Club Edition

Well, I'm swamped again. But this time, it's not just because of exhaustion and homework! I've got club activities.

At the beginning of the school year, I wrote the post Advice from Anime: Join a Club. This year, our club gained more members, we did more things, and I made more friends. We only have one more month left before the end of the school year.

What's your favorite club anime? Sports anime don't count... well, they sort of do, but you have to mention an anime with another type of club, too. Sports anime aside, I suppose one of my favorites would be Chihayafuru. It's also one of the few club anime to come to mind.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Rewind: Yumeiro Pâtissière

Today, I feature another anime from the ancient days, from when I used this old PC all the time and wasn't as obsessive about taking screenshots. Those were the days of anime binging and genre phases, when I searched out every acceptable vampire anime, and then every enjoyable cute anime. In other words, I watched Yumeiro Pâtissière three years ago, around the same time as La Corda d'OroGauken Alice, Lucky Star, and Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi. In that time of my life, I appreciated anything that would help me escape from reality, especially if it made me smile or, better, laugh. Yumeiro Pâtissière had just the pleasant, innocent, fun atmosphere I longed for, and between the first 50-episode series and the second, single season series, it wrapped me in comfort for several hours.

My biggest complaint with Yumeiro Pâtissière was the same thing that gave it major cute points: the art. Everyone looked much younger than their actual age, even by anime standards. The adults looked like high schoolers, and 14-year-old Ichigo and her classmates looked like elementary students. It was easy to forget their real ages. Of course, if I wanted realism, Yumeiro Pâtissière was the wrong place to look. It had fairies.

Cute characters looking cute in the 32nd episode. And cupcakes
looking yummy... there's a lot of mouthwatering food in this one.

Before you dismiss this as a kids' anime (which it sort of is), let me tell you that I found the story quite entertaining.

"Sure, Annalyn," you say. "But you've already admitted you were an anime binger, and you weren't very discriminating."

Actually, by 2011, I could differentiate between what would completely, grossly waste my time and what anime was worth wasting my time on. Plus, enough people shared my positive opinion of this show to give it an average 4/5 stars on Anime-Planet. I binged, but I binged on decent quality anime.

Here's some of what kept my attention in Yumeiro Pâtissière, at least from what I remember:

First, Ichigo had a special skill (amazing sense of taste), which was identified by a professional chef. She was invited to a special school, at which she would slowly rise from the bottom of her class cooking group and become a great chef. There was competition and everything. Basically, there were several of the same qualities I enjoy in sports anime.

Second, there was a bit of romance. This anime is no where near entering the romance genre, but there's enough to make me smile. Actually, Yumeiro Pâtissière has some reverse harem elements, as she becomes close to three guys... and, as you may recall, I used to have a weakness for reverse harem (I'm pretty sure I've grown out of it... though it may just be that I haven't found a decent reverse harem in a long, long time).

Third, it made me happy. Look, I don't remember all the details, but I smiled and chuckled and had an all around pleasant time. That's all I wanted.

Yumeiro Pâtissière inspired a little story that I posted on this blog, a hypothetical Valentine's Day story of sorts. That story takes me down memory lane even more than looking at old screenshots. A lot has changed in the past three years... Anyway, I wrote it when Yumeiro Pâtissière was fresher in my memory, so the short introduction probably gives better information about the show than this post does.

P.S. I just got the news: My Macbook is finally fixed! I'll get it back on Monday, when I return to school from Spring Break. This old PC of mine has been a real trooper, and I always enjoy getting reaquainted with it, but it will be a big relief to get back on the laptop I'm most comfortable with. Plus, I've been using the small inventory of screenshots on this PC to decide what to feature in my Rewind posts. I prefer not to watch anime (or any videos) on this dear, slow, old thing. It will be nice to have the freedom to move about at the speed and ease my younger laptop allows.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Rewind: Durarara!!

I heard that Durarara!! is getting a second anime series. I don't know when, but if it's supposed to be part of the ten year anniversary for the light novel, I would assume it will come out this year. No, I didn't do much research; this post is called "Rewind," not "Fastforward." Go Google it yourself while I focus on the first series.

Screenshot from ep 11, in which, uh... actually, I don't know how to
explain without spoilers. So, something cool happens, and Mikado gets
the best of someone my records call "the bad guy." I'm sorry, but my
computer situation is making it hard for me to get new screenshots.

I loved Durarara!! when I saw it three years ago, but it took me two tries to get through it. The first several episodes failed to catch my attention the first time around. The storytelling is unconventional but ultimately intriguing, the action is exciting, and the characters both interested and surprised me. Durarara!! comes from the same studio, staff, and original author as Baccano! does, and it's obvious... even without the Isaac and Miria cameos.

It's been several years since I watched Durarara!!, so see my old Survival Guide to the World of Durarara!! for 7 tips on how to survive Ikebukuro with the main character, Mikado. I included more of my thoughts in the "headlines" in the bottom part of that post. The spoilers aren't too big, but they're present.

For more information and videos, see Anime-Planet's page for Durarara!!.

Oh, and punctuation tip, because it's hard to remember how many exclamation points to put on these Japanese Titles:

Baccano! came first and only has one exclamation point.
Durarara!! came second and has two. But it has three "ra"s, which makes its name about as long as that of its predecessor.

On an unrelated note, here's a computer update: It looks like the hard drive cable on my Mac is broken again, and I won't get it back for more than a week, and that assuming the wonderful guy in I.T. is correct in his diagnosis (I'm on Spring Break now, and no longer in the same city as my Mac). I'm using my old PC, but it's in serious need of updates... and protection... and speed... and a new battery (not gonna happen)... and the fountain of youth, while we're at it. 

I miss Crunchyroll, and I miss reading people's blogs. I feel out of the loop. Now that I'm on break, I hope I'll have time to catch up a little using my phone and my Mom's computer, but I do have to be diligent about homework if I want to have a pleasant April.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Rewind: Fortune Arterial

I'm still swamped, and I'm having computer problems on top of that, but the show most go on! I'm using my old backup computer right now. Normally, I don't use the internet on this, but I decided to make an exception.
The main girl, Erika, in episode 7. She's a vampire. The main character is human.

I watched Fortune Arterial three years ago, during my vampire anime phase. Halfway through, I wrote the post "First Half of Fortune Arterial." While I enjoyed it well enough, there wasn't as much about the vampires as I hoped in the first half. It picked up more in the second half and even had some action. Still, I decided it was a mediocre harem anime with fangs. I gave it 3/5 stars, which means I probably wouldn't give it more than 2.5/5 now. I used to be quite generous in my ratings.

With that, I'm off to do homework.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Anime-Planet: One Stop for All my Anime Needs

There I was, taking a well-earned  break from homework, preparing to watch Yowamushi Pedal on Anime-Planet through Crunchyroll's video player, when I remembered: Sothis said they were going to launch their next new feature. So I went to the Anime-Planet Facebook page. My eyes widened.

That's right, folks: A-P has partnered with Hulu.

My favorite anime site has now teamed up with both my prime anime-streaming websites. I was happy enough when the Crunchyroll feature came out a week and a half ago, as you may recall. And I knew more cool updates were coming, but this? This, I did not expect.

Obviously, my plans for procrastinating anime-viewing tonight have changed. I'm going to watch Noragami, because that's on Hulu, and I obviously have to see how this video player works on Anime-Planet.

Click to Enlarge
Note the same auto-update feature that's available for Crunchyroll videos, and the option to discuss Noragami in the forums. This embedded video player doesn't have all the same options available when you watch on Hulu itself, but it has the necessities, just like with the Crunchyroll videos.

For more information on Anime-Planet, these new features, and the features to come, see the press release. For more information on why I love this site, see my last post about it, "Anime-Planet Just Got Even Better."

Now, Anime-Planet has surpassed "even better" to become the one stop needed for all my anime needs... okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. I connect with other anime fans across blogs, Twitter, and even Facebook. And, sometimes, I have to look up information that Anime-Planet hasn't added yet, such as about voice actors or characters. But, hey! I can't complain about the occasionally missing character, because it's up to us, the users, to add characters, recommendations, and more. That's part of what makes this website so great. Sothis gives us conveniently placed videos and cool design, and we get to give back by helping add information.

I think I just used all my procrastination time writing this post, so I won't be finishing that episode of Noragami until I do dishes. I'd better stop playing news reporter and get back to homework. In the meantime, what do you think of Anime-Planet and its new features? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Swamped again...

... but it's been a while since I last took a week off, so I don't feel bad about missing this Rewind post. Plus, I've been doing animarch (one of those challenge things) on Tumblr between homework and procrastination. Check out what I've done so far, if you wish.

One of the challenges was to draw a character whose name we picked randomly from among other names. I drew Chihaya. Here's the version I uploaded, though I've since fixed the mouth: