The unbearable lightness of Tamako Love Story

I had a little crush, recently. He was handsome and urbane, tall and well dressed. We talked late at night over a bottle of whisky. It felt out of control. It felt silly. I let myself be swept away by daydreams. And why not? Is there anything more uncomfortable and enlivening than the feeling of a new love?

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Just Communication; Rewatching Gundam Wing

Let’s be honest, here: I rewatched Gundam Wing these past couple of weeks because A Day Without Me was posting hilarious screencaps on twitter, and listening to Just Communication a grand total of once convinced me it was a good idea. When Gundam Wing aired on Canadian TV, in the early 00’s, I paid it no more than passing attention. I was, after all, starting a decade-long love affair with Inuyasha; I was a busy girl. All I knew from its original North American run is that you were supposed to ship Heero/Duo and that Relena was the worst and no one in their right minds would like her. And for 15 years, this is how I remembered Gundam Wing.

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All ends with beginnings; Naruto’s swansong

Naruto is making me cry with each chapter it releases. The rebloggables are suddenly through the charts on my tumblr dashboard. Open Facebook or Twitter on a Jump release date, and there are people there to commiserate with. It’s the ending we always dreamed of, quietly gripping our rubber prop kunai, gleefully purchased as preteens at our first anime conventions.

General spoilers for the manga; but very little in the way of specifics.  

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And Punpun is just fine, today.

I spent two days reading up to the latest releases of Oyasumi Punpun. I spent two days kicking myself for not reading Inio Asano’s longest-running work sooner; assuming it would be inferior to the tight, refined narratives of his one shots. I spent two days crying over the fact that no-one picked up the English-language publishing licenses when Tokyopop folded (goddamnit, just take my money, I’m begging you!)

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All good dreamers pass this way

All these years, I wanted K-On! to prove me right. I wanted it to be a shitty anime about cute girls doing cute things. I wanted to hold myself above it and I wanted you all to point and look and say “Look at those folks over at Bateszi Anime Blog, they have such good fucking taste, they’d never blog about K-On! because it’s moe-moe shit!”

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Because her soul is enslaved to a goddess; Oniisama E

By all means, Oniisama E, translating as Dear Brother, is unassuming in its premise. However, pegging Oniisama E as anything other than a landmark production would be short-sighted. Ikeda Rioyko’s original manga was penned in the 1970s, and yet the series moves through triggering subjects like terminal illness, suicide, incest, homosexuality, and drug use without batting an eyelid.

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Say I love you or they won’t want you; sexual capital in Sukitte Ii Na Yo

 

I read quite a bit of shoujo manga. As such, I was quite pleased to see that Sukitte Ii Na Yo  received an anime adaption this fall.  It’s an interesting one, because, while stubbornly about teenagers’ romantic involvements, it really isn’t. If you’re watching Sukitte Ii Na Yo, or if you’ve written it off as ‘just another shoujo show’, you’re missing the point. Sukitte Ii Na Yo is an examination of sexual capital, disguised as a shoujo series.

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Life imitates art: the TED Prize

In a somewhat odd series of events, the TED prize (associated with the eponymous talk-producing website, naturally) – normally $100,000 USD has increased to a total sum of $1,000,000. Moreover, the process by which the prize is awarded has changed slightly. To quote the organization’s blog post:

“But, while historically the prize has been awarded to individuals who then made a wish, this year articulating the big wish is done up front, with the idea getting heavy weight in the selection process.”

Remind you of anything? It’s is eerily close to the premise of Eden of the East.

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Wanderlust girls: The manga of Tsuruta Kenji

Have you ever travelled, my friends? Have you ever packed your bags, left home, returning months later? Or not at all? With a nervousness that travels from the soles of your feet to the soles of your feet to the whites of your eyes, borded a plane, feeling as if every atom in your body was quivering? I have. Tsuruta Kenji’s protagonists – wandering girls – have as well.

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Don’t forget the side characters

In alot of ways, what keeps a longer manga engaging isn’t its main characters, but the side characters. Though our initial emotional investments as readers are in the main characters, the supporting cast and their links with those main characters are what keeps the story fresh.

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An anatomy of a gaze

Though I suppose anatomy of a pose might be a better title for this post.

I’m in love with by this image of Himari. Rather, boushi-san, or hat-san, as Shouma calls Himari’s possessed form. This image, seen in Mawaru Penguindrum’s second opening, Shounen yo, Ware ni Kaere, has been captivating me for some weeks now.

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Dedicated to all pioneers: sticky anime

At the risk of taking anime too seriously, a part of the reason my fandom has endured for as many years as it has is the idea of “stickiness”. And yes, feel free to leave your perverted jokes in the comments (jerks.)

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June 2011: What we’re watching

bateszi: The hope is that this post will be the first in a new monthly feature. I say ‘new’ as if we’re bursting with regular features here, but no, this is more like our first attempt to do anything that isn’t a one-off blog post. Awkward introductions aside, then, welcome to the rare sight of another (and long-overdue) group post on this here blog, which collects our varied thoughts on Blue Exorcist, Toriko, AnoHana and Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko.

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The wonderous parts of the world

It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally had a moment to sit down with the Mushishi manga. I say a long time coming because I was the most ardent of fans during the anime’s original airing. The 2006 anime holds a special place in my heart. Between it and Eureka SeveN, my faith in quality anime was restored. I could’ve been the typical anime fan, who gives up when they hit some form of adulthood (I graduated high school in 2006,) but because of Mushishi I persisted, and am now the ultra-nerdy woman you see.

And it’s with that sentiment that I let myself sink into the green world of Mushishi once more.

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This isn’t how I imagined it; Hanasaku Iroha

Teenage girls are a tricky thing to do well in anime. Anime about (and often aimed at) teenage girls is a continually saturated market, making it hard to improve upon. That said, I liked Hanasaku Iroha. In particular, the portrayal of Ohana was intriguing.

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Yankee-kun to Megane-chan and the world of shounen manga apprentices

I’ve always found the idea of an apprentice palatable. The idea of learning directly from a ‘master’ on real-world projects is, to me, a better way of doing things. Over my years in university I can’t count how many lazy students (including the lazy student in the mirror) I’ve met who slack off simply because they can’t feel the real world gravity of  what they’re working on.

Just about every shounen mangaka has spent time as an apprentice: Eiichiro Oda (One Piece) began as Watsuki Noburhiro’s (Rurouni Kenshin, most notably) assistant, alongside Hiroyuki Takei (Shaman King).  In turn, Nobuhiro (among others) were mentored by Takeshi Obata, of Death Note and Hikaru no Go fame. Naruto‘s Masahi Kishimoto claims to have been struck with an inescapable motivation to become a mangaka after seeing an Akira poster (penned by Katsuhiro Otomo), and all of these, including Hiro Mashima of Fairy Tail fame, are spiritual successors to Osamu Tezuka and Akira Toriyama.

And where, you ask, is this lengthy preamble taking us? Towards Yankee-kun to Megane-chan!

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A Tatami Galaxy kind of year

Of all the anime I’ve seen this year, probably the one that deserves blogging the most is The Tatami Galaxy. Life imitates art; and looking back on the past year, or the part of my life which, in many ways has abruptly stumbled to an end of sorts I can qualify the title. For me, it really has been a Tatami Galaxy kind of year.

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A fatal Attraction

In what ended up being one of the cooler mornings I’ve had recently, I stumbled upon Koji Morimoto’s Attraction via twitter. Not knowing what to expect, but hearing it paired with the words “interactive anime”, I clicked.

What followed was one of Studio  4C’s latest experiments with the anime medium. Their involvement with the upcoming (and looking stellar) Catherine action/adventure game by Atlus has been highly profiled, but Attraction seems to have slipped under the lens of most anime fans. It’s a pity, too. While it is about a rather done-to-death topic (the perils of smoking) and, in the end is a public service announcement for the French Government, there’s lots of cool things going on with this that should be brought to attention.

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Because the dawn is beautiful; Future Boy Conan

Weird as it may sound, I judge an anime by how many screencaps it nets me. I screencap things on my first run-through an episode or movie, and obsessive-compulsively: if something flashes by my eyes and I miss grabbing the screencap, I will jump backwards in the movie as many times as needed to grab it. Annoying, I know. I wouldn’t want to watch anime with me either!

Much as I’ve been enjoying Star Driver and Kuragehime, the compulsive urge to screencap just hasn’t taken me. I assumed that I’d broken my habit of pausing somehow; that I’d returned to sanity. Then, on a whim, I downloaded Future Boy Conan and realized that I was still the most annoying person on earth to watch anime with.

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Let’s keep what I’m about to sing between the two of us, okay?

Think of this as a Diary of An Anime Lived post if that tickles your fancy.

As much as I love Kuragehime, and as much as I have to say about it, I find it a little bit hard to write about. It hits a little close to home for me, and sweet as it is I really wish I didn’t relate to it as strongly as I do. The girls depicted in the series are less-than-ideal. They’re too short, or too round, or don’t pluck their eyebrows and wear old gray tracksuits. Moreover, they’re all completely obsessed with their own niche interests, shunning the world around them and the company of half the human race in the process.

I’m a fairly proud person: I take two showers a day, have plucked my eyebrows meticulously for years now and get too-expensive haircuts. The reason I relate to “the Sisterhood”, as Funimation refers to them as, is because I completely understand how they ended up that way (so to speak). Simply put, they can’t figure out how to be girls, and so they hide in their otaku-doms, sneering but avoiding the Popular Crowd.

My confession is that I can’t figure out how to be a girl either, irreverent of my pride or my grooming. Let me show you how those misfit girls become who they are.

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Autumn ’10 impressions

batesziWelcome to yet another autumn run-down! Everything is loosely ranked into a makeshift top 10 and we’ve tried to keep our impressions short and to the point, but if there’s anything you want clarified, feel free to question us (and our opinions) in the comments. We’ve missed out certain series because they are sequels to things we haven’t seen (or indeed, dropped in the past,) but I hope this at least gives you an idea of where we stand with the new anime season (don’t forget to vote in our poll, too!)

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Am I looking at the sky, or the sea?

Though it borrows from the mythos of the (very real) city of Venice, there’s something pleasantly unreal about Aria. Rather, not unreal so much as there is a disregard for the idea and constraints of reality. Perhaps Aria seeks not to undermine reality as we know it, but in its ‘New Venice’, create its own sense of reality.

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The art of fading into the scenery; introducing Megane

The only way I can think to describe Megane is “a movie for B-type personalities”. It ambles along at a pace that – to the outside observer – seems foreign, but somehow fascinating. Other than that, it’s hard to pin down. The film builds its own internal language of keywords and signs, yet offers the viewer no interpretation or meaning, remaining neutral. The meaning, of course, is that there is none: things like signs and symbols, even when presented with the intricacy seen in the likes of Megane, are meaningless.

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Cherry picking in autumn 2010

batesziIt’s autumn again, and with it comes dozens of new anime series to get excited about. From these, we’ve picked a few that we’re particularly interested in. Marvel at our impeccable taste and insightful opinions!

CelesteI was thinking you’d come up with something better than that for the introduction. Evidently my expectations were too high.

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batesziThat is what happens when we write the introduction after the rest of the post.

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The town where nothing ever happens: FLCL & I

Frankly, I lack the words to talk about Satoshi Kon’s passing; there are others who have said and will say things more eloquently. Instead, I offer you a diversion: FLCL.

I meant to write this post a while back, but never go around to it. Somehow, it’s been a very long, and a little bit of a crazy summer. Without many noticing, the 10th anniversary of a certain anime came and went in late April. You probably know it by one of it’s many names – FLCL; Furi Kuri; Fooly Cooly. I love FLCL. I’ve watched it so many times over the last decade that I’ve lost track.

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One Piece, or when the anime is better than the manga

Before I start, a preamble: One Piece is a great anime. Ever since our little agreement a month back I’ve been tackling the series, from 229 onwards at a pace of about 3 or so episodes a day. Unlike the other One Piece addict around here, however, I must admit the plot and characters aren’t the focus of the experience for me. Rather, I was interested in how One Piece transitioned from manga to anime, particularly in light of some of the other Shounen Jump adaptations that came out in the neighboring years.

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The future of “anime” is bright

Let’s take this Dai Sato discussion for another spin, shall we?

The above image is from the film My Beautiful Girl Mari. It was released in 2001, and is being distributed in the US by ADV films. Moreover, you can stream it for free courtesy of the Anime News Network. It centers around a dream the protagonist has, as a young boy, while staring at a cat’s eye marble. The film is atomospheric, intense, visually pleasing in the extreme and experimental.

If you didn’t notice already, it’s also Korean.

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Low-brow good times [Occult Academy first impressions]

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about anime over the past year, it’s that these Anime no Chikara projects start out strong, only to have me lose interest after four episodes.

When faced with the latest offering in the project, Occult Academy, I was determined not to be sucked in. I would watch it, but the cool-looking opening wouldn’t sway me, nor would the conversation with the cab driver in its opening minutes pique my interest. I was a woman not scorned, but bored – and I would not have it happen again. I sat on my throne of good taste, and prepared to get back to waxing poetic about The Tatami Galaxy.

Then the female lead decked her father’s corpse with a chair, wrestler-style, and all of a sudden, I was more than willing to give things a second chance.
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