Archive for the English Anime Category


Sailor Moon S Anime, Part 2, Disk 3 (English)

October 13th, 2017

Okay, I’m convinced.  Watching Sailor Moon S, Part 2, Disk 3 on Blu-Ray has convinced me of the superiority of Blu-Rayfor remastered old analog anime. (I’m still completely un-awed by it for regular already higher-definition-than-my-eyes-see-at-anyway hi-def.)

But here, at the final disk of my favorite season of this show, I was unwilling to let a single over-saturated background slip by unnoticed. So Blu-Ray it was. The sound quality was good as far as I can tell. Undoubtedly, audiophiles among you cried out in despair, but all I want is the BGM balanced against the foreground dialogue, (which we did not get with the Pioneer DVDs.) I want, to be specific, “World Shaking” to resound appropriately. ^_^ And so it does. 

Plot-wise, we are in the darkest depths of the arc, basically watching uncomfortably as Hotaru’s body and psyche are the wrestling ground for three entities, only one of which is Hotaru herself. We’re forced to watch her struggle to live as Uranus, Neptune and Pluto try to kill her, Mistress 9 attempts to control her and Sailor Saturn awakens.

Thankfully, it’s the Sailor Senshi and her calm musical theme who wins, and proves the Outers to be completely, wholly, incorrect about all but one thing.

They save the world, of course, It wasn’t really in doubt, even almost a quarter of a century ago, when learning that fact would have been a spoiler. ^_^

The disk came with interviews with Erica Mendez, Lauren Landa and Christine Marie Cabanos, (Sailors Uranus, Neptune and Saturn respectively) which were delightful to listen to. Landa is a long time fan of the series and it shows. She has the same problem I have with “Tuxedo Mirage,” that I tear up for no particular reason when I hear it. ^_^ Another extra is watching them live as they watch an episode in which all of their characters appear together. It was worth a watch and it gave me a good reason to watch an episode dubbed. So let’s talk about the dub for a second.

There is one reason and one reason only I prefer subs to dubs. No, wait, two reasons. There are two reason I prefer subs. One, I really like to listen and try to follow the spoken Japanese. Anime dialogue is not nearly as fast and complicated as real-life dialogue, which makes it good practice for listening to spoken Japanese, something I am not at all good at (I say, then remind myself to put on JapanTV and listen to the damn news in Japanese and get some practice, only to find that Rin-ne is on. With subtitles. orz)

The second reason is completely, utterly, obnoxiously fannish. For decades, listening to American voice actors murder Japanese names just made it intolerable for me to listen to dubs. Well, I listened to this dub and didn’t cringe. So Viz is responsible for not only the definitive edition of Sweet Blue Flowers, but also the definitive – best-of-breed version of Sailor Moon S.  In a short chat with Viz rep Jane Lui at New York Comic-Con I expressed how impressed I have been with their work on these Yuri classics. She noted that creator Naoko Takeuchi-sensei gets final approval of everything on this release of Sailor Moon. I was very relieved and happy to hear that. Takeuchi-sensei deserves to have her say. So I’ll repeat here what I told Jane – thank you to everyone at Viz for doing such an amazing job. The love everyone has for this series shows. So, thank you to everyone who worked on it. 

Ratings:

Art – 8 
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Yuri –  5 Alternate family FTW
Service – 3 The Daimon stay racy right through the end.

Overall – 8

The penultimate episode reminded me just why adult characters are so important in series with mostly teen protagonists – someone needed to have pointed out to Haruka and Michiru that they were wrong about almost everything. It is this that really drives my dislike of the 5th season. Someone needed to say to Haruka and Michiru, “Hey! We’ve done this already! You have to listen to Usagi…remember?” It vexes me through the entire season.

Sailor Moon SuperS is on the way, I’m looking forward to it to see the Amazon Trio once again. ^_^

Thank you very much Viz for the review copy!  It was a blast to hum along with every single musical riff. We have the  Proplica Spiral Heart Moon Rod and play the Spiral Heart Attack music about as often as you’d expect. You know…daily. ^_^

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Sailor Moon S Anime , Part 2, Disk 2 (English)

September 25th, 2017

For the first time ever, I’m going to say hands down, the Blu-Ray is better. Watching Sailor Moon S, Part 2, Disk 2 on BD was…fun. The colors are super-saturated, and the animation is as good as the animation ever was (which is to say, not really all that good.) It was good enough, however, that we commented that the Blu-Ray made a difference and we never do that. Sound quality was, again, really decent and overall, the technicals were solid enough that we never once had to think about them for being intrusive or annoying.

In Part 2, the story is getting both sillier and more serious at the same time. We lose Eudial and pick up the delusional Mimete, with her creepy cormorant Daimons. In Mimete’s world, pure hearts are only had by celebrities, so she’d get along famously in 2017.

The Outer Senshi have settled down into full-time brooding, as Sailor Moon herself is getting used to a powerup. I particularly like how they don’t sit down to have any sensible conversations about the situation. Chibi-Usa is the only one who can cross lines, and that’s only because no one takes her seriously. 

Hotaru gets a creepy power-up, then the pathos is laid on with a trowel. I don’t get Kaolinite treating Hotaru so shitty. You’d think…but, no. 

In one of the most eye-opening episodes we both saw something so Ikuhara we started to laugh. It’s funny to see a beloved director’s visual tic so obviously on display.

We’re about to get into the darkest moments of the series and I find I can’t wait to watch it. 25 years later and I’m still a huge fangirl…which is why I’m as excited as I am to say I’ll get to see the new Sailor Moon store in Harajuku! Yay! I’ll be in Tokyo for Comitia and will save my yen for all the Sailor Senshi goods. ^_^ 

Ratings:

Art – 8 
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Yuri –  2 A bit muted this disk
Service – 3 

Overall – 8

I’m also keeping my fingers crossed for an interview that will interest you all at AnimeNYC. Say a little prayer.

Thanks very much to Viz for the review copy! I just love it to pieces.

 

 

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LGBTQ: Steven Universe, Season 6

September 8th, 2017

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In Season 1 of Steven Universe we met and learned about the Crystal Gems, friendly alien invaders from space. In Season 2 we began to really understand their history. Season 3 deepened our understanding of all the series’ characters and Season 4 brought the first major plots to fruition…and expanded our cast. In Season 5, Steven and we begin to understand that Rose Quartz was not necessarily the beacon of Good that she had been held up to be. As we learn about her flaws, Rose becomes exponentially more interesting.

In Season 6, we begin, at last to put all the pieces we’ve been given into some kind of picture. And the picture we’re getting is nothing like the one we expected.

We’re introduced to Blue Diamond in person. With the chance to directly compare her and Yellow Diamond, we start to get a little bit of a picture of an imperious royal class that understands little and cares not at all about the beings it rules. We spend a lot of time in space this season since, realistically, having neutralized The Cluster, any further contact with the Diamonds would have to be in space or on Homeworld, or Earth would be at risk. Space it is, then.

Several really significant things happened this season – Greg was introduced to just how vast the story in which his son is embroiled actually is. Steven is now very visibly showing signs of super strength, and becoming more confident with his powers. We visit Homeworld and learn that in a strictly defined hierarchy, there’s still an outcast underclass. Amethyst meets her family and finds that she’s just one of the gems after all.  I learned about Holly Blue Agate , a stone I had never heard of before. (Fairly remarkable, as I’ve been collecting semi-precious stones for decades…) and Lars…well…no,that’s a spoiler, I will not spoil.

We get to see that both Yellow and Blue Diamond have genuine affection for Pink Diamond (and I can’t help but wonder what White Diamond, who has never once been mentioned, but whose symbol we’ve repeatedly seen, is like.) In fact, during “What’s the Use of Feeling Blue,” we get the distinct feeling that Yellow Diamond surprises herself when she speaks of missing Pink Diamond.

But once again, the climax of the series is unexpected in ways that we couldn’t even have predicted. Once again we learn that the truth isn’t what we we were told it is, and it isn’t what others think it is, either. So…what is it? The fan theories are flying, thick and fast. ^_^

The last significant thing that happened is that my wife is hooked. Hah. ^_^ Now I can obsess and she’s totally into it. Gotcha. Hee Hee. Hee.

Art – 8
Story- 10
Characters – 10
Service – 1 on principle
Queerness – 7 Fluorite is a lovely nod to polyamory.

Overall – 10

Can’t wait for Season 7. Seriously.

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Yuri Anime: Yurikuma Arashi The Complete Series, Disk 2 (English)

August 25th, 2017

While watching Disk 1 of Yurikuma Arashi, the collaborative effort between Ikuhara Kunihiko and Morishima Akiko, I spent most of the time searching for meaning. While watching Disk 2, I gave up on that and just let the story play out while I stared at it.

For once, the confusion wasn’t a surfeit of plot, but an excess of same. Kureha, Ginko and Lulu all had their own fairytales, all of which overlapped at moments that they met, but were otherwise wholly different and unmanageably massive. The Severance Court adds to to confusion by adding restrictions on all of the characters that served no purpose other than creating plot complications so that the several fairy tales can’t possibly all have happy endings…until they do.

The happy endings were the surprising twist at the end, since we’d all have a reasonable expectation of at least one of them ending alone and miserable but, no, this fairy tale was going to end with the two princesses living happily-ever-after, goddamn it. Even if we had to kill a few other people to make it happen.

Unfortunately, the translation on this disk was distractingly bad, with at least one gaffe that my wife protested. “Oh, for fuck’s sake!” was a thing that was said a number of times this disk, which makes me think the team they assigned here got confused and just gave up and no one checked their work.

Equally annoying was the technical side, which I suppose must have been the same for the first disk, but for some reason didn’t affect me as problematic. The controls on the menu were beige, and would light up light pink when clicked. I had to get up and lean over the TV to see the color change. I’m old and my eyes are crap, but the one thing I am very sensitive to is color and this was brutally bad. Please run title screens by someone over 40, Funimation. Thanks.

Ratings:

Art – 8 Weirdly happy, but still weird.
Story – 7 …and they lived happily ever after, somehow.
Characters – 7 Bears all the way down
Yuri – 14 million
Service – 7

Overall – 7

It wasn’t bad, but it was so service-y and creepy in places that I can’t call it “good,” either. It was certainly a thing we watched, wasn’t it?

Thank you Yuricon Superhero Dan P for giving me a chance to relive my adoration of a wonderful evil psychotic lesbian in Yurika.

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Discovering New Yuri 2017 Presentation

August 21st, 2017

At Yurithon 2017 I did a presentation called Must-Read/Must-Watch Yuri.  At Flamecon 2017, the same presentation was presented as Discovering The Best New Yuri Anime and Manga.

I promised to put the entire presentation up here, so folks could draw on the links, rather than taking photos of the screen. Not that I didn’t want them to do that, but this is SO much easier, I hope! For reasons, the videos were making it impossible to upload as a Powerpoint (and not everyone has that, so I’ve taken out the videos and converted the presentation to PDF. The links should work for you. Only the Utena Blu-Ray and Citrus anime have no links, as they currently have no ETA. 

 

 

 

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