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Alethea & Athena
Sampling anime 
14th-Jul-2017 07:57 pm
I don't know if it's real or imagined, but we've been under the impression this last week that we've had something of that elusive creature "free time." That being the case, we've actually managed to sample a fair amount of anime so far this season. It probably helps that two of the series we've tried have episodes that are only half the length of regular anime episodes.

So let's talk about anime! I will admit that we have a tendency to stick to series that are based on Kodansha manga, but it might not be for the reason that you think. I'm not even sure if it's for the reason that I think. Most of the Kodansha titles this season, and in fact the last season when we felt we had any time to watch anime, are not being translated by us, and are probably in most cases being translated by somebody else. So it's certainly not a matter of, "Let's see what we can ask our editors to let us translate!" It was really more a matter of realizing that wow, a lot of Kodansha anime gets our beloved favorite voice actor. Let's check out all their stuff and see if he's in it.

...Turns out he's not so much anymore. This is kind of a bummer, but Kodansha series continue to be pretty entertaining overall, so it's only a minor disappointment.

So what all are we watching anyway? Most recently we tried Tsuredure Children, which is kind of super adorable. It's basically a bunch of vignettes about awkward love confessions, and it has about a million characters, so even though it doesn't have our favorite voice actor yet, there's still a chance! We're enjoying it so far, and I think we'll keep up with it.

We also tried something something Yokai Apartment something? I don't remember the exact title, or if Yokai Apartment comes at the beginning or end, but the point is Yokai Apartment. The title pretty much tells you the premise. A kid moves into an apartment complex and discovers it's run and inhabited by yokai. It's interesting enough but not really captivating so far. It does have a great cast, though! (Not including our favorite...yet?)

We also tried the one with Altair in it. (See how good I am at remembering titles? Look, all I need is a word or two to help me find it, okay?) It's about a kid? Okay, he's not really a kid, I'm guessing. He's old enough to be in the army four years ago, and old enough to be some kind of a leader figure. It takes place in a fantasy version of Turkey, and it's about politics and intrigue and doing his best to make life better for the people. Could be interesting, but so far seems to take itself WAY too seriously, as indicated by the SUPER DRAMATIC music during what seemed to be a relatively non-dramatic conversation.

We've also watched Love and Lies, which is based on a manga that we know we're not translating, unless they decided to put off the release for a super long time. It's about the future when, to help with the population decrease problem, the government has turned to science to determine the best partners for everyone, and at age 16, everyone is assigned a future spouse, and it's illegal to pursue any other romantic interest. I think it's especially interesting that they call the assignment process "the red string of science," as opposed to "the red string of destiny," because science is supposed to be, like, the ultimate thing, but on the other hand, of course you have people falling in love with people to whom they have not been assigned. The characters are endearing, too, so it's been pretty good so far.

We also watched Aho-Girl, which definitely lives up to its title. The main girl is definitely very aho, and they are not afraid to commit to that concept. The gags do not go halfway, and the timing and pacing is good, but it has a tendency to be a little too low-brow for our tastes.

The last Kodansha anime we tried so far (I think this might be all of them, actually, but more keep popping up) is Welcome to the Ballroom, and we are eagerly awaiting episode two. It's about a kid who doesn't know what he wants to do with his life, but accidentally stumbles on ballroom dancing and becomes obsessed with it. When Producer Kinoshita talked about Tatara's passion, he was not kidding. And we can definitely see the influence of the Noragami editor. So far it's a lot of fun, but, as Cecille mentioned, the dancing hasn't been that impressive yet. I'm hoping that changes, because one of my favorite things to watch is couples dancing together. But in the meantime, the characters are all pretty interesting.

We also tried two non-Kodansha series. The first one is Dive!, which is like if they decided they really wanted to do Yuri on Ice!!, but show more skin like in Free!, but show even more skin than that because the Free! boys weren't naked enough. So it's kind of ridiculous, and the first episode with its constant breaks to explain how diving works and various other info dumps was kind of annoying. But we gave it another chance, because, as you may have guessed, our favorite voice actor plays the lead. The second episode was more interesting, so we'll probably watch at least one more episode, time permitting.

And finally, of course we have to watch Saiyuki Reload Blast! It's Saiyuki! Saiyuki was our thing for years. It's kind of hard watching it subtitled, though, because as if we weren't critical of subtitles enough for titles we weren't possessive of. As usual, the Saiyuki anime isn't as good as the manga, but it's still nice to hang out with Sanzo and the gang. (I decided we all need a better translation for Sanzo Ikkou than "Sanzo party," but I don't have the energy to come up with one.) And this will be a good reminder to translate volume two of the manga if we ever have free time and don't feel overworked. Or maybe we'll give up and just read it.

And that's all the anime we've been watching. I'm kind of interested in watching Token Ranbu, too, but we'll see.

Also! we actually had time for video games, too, so we started Melissa's story in KamiAso IF, and he has more energy than the first three guys combined, so we're enjoying it a lot more. Not that we didn't like the other guys (although I had mixed feelings about Akira), just that when we're playing visual novels and we're tired, we're kind of likely to fall asleep if there's not enough stimulation. But that is not a problem with Melissa.

Today I'm thankful for getting to sample so much anime this season, finally getting to do Melissa's story, finishing our Nekogahara translation, getting to see my hummingbird, and getting to sleep in tomorrow.
15th-Jul-2017 03:30 am (UTC)
That reminds me. I occasionally write for a feminist webzine called *Sequential Tart* (it's supposed to be a pun on "sequential art"--the original editor-in-chief was British), and every year the individual staff members are encouraged to come up with what we call the Tartie Awards. These are frequently for various improbable one-off made-up categories, such as the Tartie Award for Most Undeservedly Difficult to See Anime of the Current Simulcast Season, which I awarded to "Kabukibu!" (We had to turn in our awards write-ups before summer season started.)

Anyway, the full list of awards is supposed to be posted on the zine's website, www.sequentialtart.com, sometime in July, in honor of convention season. Actually, it looks as if this year the editors are trying to sort of synchronize it with San Diego Comic-Con, because the Tarties article still hasn't gone up yet. (*Tart* is technically a weekly and posts new material every Monday.) So presumably they'll post the piece on either the Monday before Comic-Con (i.e., July 17th) or the Monday immediately after it (July 24th).

*Tart* isn't a particularly high-profile publication, and due to the infernal Anime Strike double paywall, the award probably won't accomplish much beyond making a few additional people aware of what they're missing. (I actually liked "Kabukibu!" enough that I'm hoping that somebody will pick up the license for the original light novel series. Ironically, if that happened, even if the resulting translations were digital-only they'd probably be more accessible to a larger number of people than if a hypothetical second series of the anime got picked up by Anime Strike.) But I figured you'd want to know about the award in any case.


15th-Jul-2017 09:26 pm (UTC)
Aww, yay, Kabukibu! got an award! I feel like I should say thanks, but I don't think our subtitles are what did it. Maybe people will want to buy it if Sentai releases it on DVD. Anime Strike really isn't that much of an investment if you already have Amazon Prime, but I guess there are fewer anime fans who subscribe to that than I think.

I have mixed feelings about the idea of licensing the light novels, because on the one hand, we would want to translate them because we're a little possessive, but on the other hand we wouldn't want to translate them because prose is a nightmare even without kabuki in it. But if it happened, we'd probably just ignore it anyway, so it would probably be better for most people if they did get an English release.
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