Escapism: You’re doing it wrong

November 27, 2007 on 10:55 pm | In Anime Industry News, Anime Scene, Anime Writing, Site News | 2 Comments

Witnessing the horror that is the turmoil in the anime industry today, I came to a realisation about myself: my reason for watching anime seems to have changed. Having very little to concern myself with in my personal life at the moment (I mean that I have no inner turmoils, not that I’m a blank sack of potatoes), I realised that I’m watching anime to escape from anime.

With a DVD in hand – and I’ve got literally hundreds of them unwatched – I have a hermetically sealed universe: a pact between myself and the series, divorced from any outside influence. For twenty minutes at a time, I don’t have to worry about the fact that Geneon died in the US, and that people are killing each other over “dorama” on the internet (and the fact that they get a cheap thrill simply from the act of typing “dorama”). I’m living for the moment with my DVDs, feeling free to cry, yell, or shake my fists at whatever developments throw themselves at me. Obviously the internet has been fairly indispensable in the development of my direction, but I feel a disenfranchisement that cannot attach myself to it for too long. I like interacting with other anime people, but only to a degree. Going to a convention is rather akin to going to a horror show, except I’m not the one kicking people and performing “Singin’ in the Rain”. I think that the second my brain imploded, beyond all of the shouts of “yaoi power!”, was when I was in Melbourne for Manifest, either ’04 or ’05, and a fat girl in a costume asked to get by me by saying “sumimasen”. These are not my people. These are not people at all.

The reasons I don’t watch fansubs right now are transparently simple: discounting the fact that I really prefer having something tangible to show for my efforts, my computer presently isn’t strong (or conveniently located) enough to warrant the effort, and all of my favourite shows when I was on the circuit appeared to be the ones that would receive the least attention from the fansubbers. For example, Angel Heart has been over for more than a year but the subs are only up to episode 42. I like having an entire series on DVD to devour at my own arbitrary pace rather than someone else’s.
I loved being part of the “blogosphere”, much as I hated that word – and now it looks like it’s been overtaken by 4chan, and a common language has been murdered by bastardisations like “weeaboo”, “copypasta” and that ilk. These are concepts that remove the need for independent thought and encourage a hive mind of unpleasantness; scientific research has proven that people who use “lulz” in all seriousness are more likely to make me cry at the state of humanity – and also to threaten people with planted child pornography, ignoring the fact that they would have to have obtained it in the first place.
I know for a fact that there’s still a lot of good stuff going on, but even as I’ve emerged from yet another personal shell, I’ve regressed back to a man, a DVD and a TV when it comes to anime. I’ll share my results with you, don’t get me wrong – I know that some readers like the past, too! – and I’ll try, oh Lord, I’ll try … to participate a bit outside of my bunker, too.

So I’ve got no answers to the current quandary. Depressing though it may be that a good ship like Geneon has sunk (this site was started on Pioneer, dangit), I can only take comfort in the knowledge that I have my DVDs, and they sure as heck can’t be taken from me. That being said, I either expect a fire, flood, or DVD plague to hit my house. I’ll continue to report back to you from the battlefield that is paid-for anime, and I hope you’ll either start, continue or resume reading. Over the Summer, I will learn discipline in writing, and you will learn … love. Or double your money back.

Come sail away with me, you guys.

Licences, you say?

September 24, 2006 on 4:26 pm | In Anime Industry News, Coyote Ragtime Show | 3 Comments

Farewell, Coyote Ragtime Show. I’ll be catching up with you when ADV unleashes you onto a suspecting public.

Take Me to Summer Side

July 23, 2006 on 10:36 pm | In Anime Industry News, Kimagure Orange Road | Comments Off on Take Me to Summer Side

AnimEigo’s Kimagure Orange Road licence expires at the end of this month. If you would like to buy it, The Right Stuf has it for $124 (with OVAs and movies on a separate discount) and AnimEigo has it for $62 without cases.

AnimEigo doesn’t ship internationally, so unless you have a mule to buy it for you you’re stuck elsewhere.

Now you can have the honour of owning one of the out of print series that I extol the virtue of! Too bad you missed out on Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy. Oh well, there’s always HD for that!

Aim for the top!? Licencing strikes twice!

July 4, 2006 on 1:06 am | In Anime Industry News | 8 Comments

Nothing says “licencing” quite like an orange box full of abandoned cat girls.

Licences have been remarkably thin on the ground these past two years, but at Anime Expo the licensors have decided that it’s time to bring new titles to the market. The notable titles, that I am even vaguely qualified to comment on, are as follows:

Gunbuster, Bandai Visual: After years in licence hell, Gunbuster finally is going to get the wide English language release that it deserves. Gunbuster is one of my favourite shows and, despite its rough start, it offers quite possibly the single greatest ending to any medium ever. I know I was on the verge of tears. I know that my friend, who has no emotion ever, was also on the edge.
Possibly because of the expert application of physics present in the series, but the principle remains the same: Gunbuster is excellence, no matter which way you slice it. It’s also notable for a cameo by Totoro, and I can’t wait for it to break into the world.
Last year, when I attended a convention panel for Madman Entertainment at Manifest, I asked president Tim Anderson if Gunbuster was a series the company was interested in, or if the licencing issues made it untouchable. Tim said that it was one of their dream series, so I’m looking forward to seeing if Gunbuster will bust loose on Australia and fulfill all of our hyper space relativity dreams.

(By the way, if you loved the themes in Gunbuster, read Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War. It is a similarly stirring exploration of many of the same concepts.)

Black Lagoon, Geneon: So this one isn’t a surprise at all: Geneon sponsored the show and they’re in the credits. I think that this has “blockbuster” written all over it, and I hope that the audience will realise fast enough that they should patronise the program and recognise it for what it is: taut action with fun characters and virtually no cause for complaint. Something can be entertaining without its intellectual fibre being called into question.

Paradise Kiss, Geneon: All of the shows of the past two years, and they choose this one. I understand the appeal of the title, based on the success of the manga in the US, but Paradise Kiss as an anime has the effect of making me want to stab my brain out for having to deal with such idiotic characters who have few endearing qualities.
For all of his faults, Kobayashi Osamu’s Beck is a much more entertaining and compelling program, but that’s the subject of another article that I chose not to publish a month back. For Paradise Kiss, I pity Geneon and I pity those who will buy it in the expectation of it being quality.

And still more licencing announcements to come! Well, at least one. Time was I was always excited by licences. That’s the sad thing about the current state of the industry: licencing sure has died down. Buy more anime, people!

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