Archive for the Simoun Category


Yuri Network News – February 19, 2011

February 19th, 2011

Every week, as I type up a YNN report, I’m reminded just how fast time goes. It’s already mid-February!

Yuri Manga

Our top story this week is from YNN Correspondent Jennifer M. French publisher Taifu has released the first chapter of their French-language edition of GIRL FRIENDS by Morinaga Milk as an online preview. Go take a look, even if you don’t read French. And if you do, please support Taifu as they takes they first steps into the Yuri market!

This past Valentine’s Day, LGBT Comics Consortium Prism Comics was kind enough to feature our own Rica ‘tte Kanji!? for a review.

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ALC Publishing

Speaking of Rica,  I would like do a special shout-out today to Komatsu-san. Because of him, our ALC Publishing manga is going to become part of the permanent collection at the Kyoto International Manga Museum. Komatsu-san is a valuable member of our staff and a good friend. And a really nice guy! ^_^ Thank you so much for all your support.

Right now, all of us at ALC are working hard on the new Rica ‘tte Kanji!? Omnibus. ^_^ Along with the original chapters, and the “More Rica” chapters from Yuri Monogatari, we’ve got a previously unpublished story and some brand new work from Rica. It’s going to be amazing!

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Yuri Radio

In Japan, Simoun has kicked back into life, as the Emotion The Best Simoun box set edition hits the shelves. To help promote that, there is a new Simoun Radio show, Simoun Electric Wave DE Remersion.

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Other News

Director of Shoujo Kakumei Utena, Ikuhara Kunihiko, has announced that he will be directing a new TV anime this year. He was notably involved in the creation of the opening sequence of Aoi Hana in 2009. The only details he’s given about the anime so far as that it will star a high school girl – a piece of information that actually made me laugh out loud. It instantly reminded me of this Dilbert comic.

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That’s a wrap for this week.

Become a Yuri Network Correspondent by sending me any Yuri-related news you find. Emails go to anilesbocon01 at hotmail dot com. Not to the comments here, please, or they might be forgotten or missed. There’s a reason for this madness. This way I know you are a real human, not Anonymous (which I do not encourage – stand by your words with your name!) and I can send you a YNN correspondent’s badge.

Thanks to all of you – you make this a great Yuri Network!

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Yuri News This Week – March 28, 2009

March 28th, 2009

The Yuriscape is very anime-heavy this week.

Yuri Anime

Sean and Eric leapt to tell us that a Simoun box set will be shipping in June. I was asked recently why Media Blasters didn’t ship the first volume along with the box option, like companies used to. I thought I’d share my answer with you all.

For one thing, the business model of a higher priced first volume with a cardboard box was almost universally despised by the market. It added very little value, saved no room and was basically annoying, as it rarely came with incentive to buy the rest of the set, except to fill the box. Companies toyed with expanding the offering – providing t-shirts and other physical extras and, towards the end, offered coupons for purchase of the next DVD in the set. But let’s face it, the single DVD model is pretty much dead here in America. More and more anime is coming out as season or half-season sets, packaged smaller, with less physical stuff. Media Blasters typically does very nice “box” sets, with large jewel cases that contain all of the disks, with no physical extras at all.

The reasoning behind single disk sales followed by repackaged multi-disk sets is simple: cost. The most expensive disk to press is the first. (This is true for books, as well.) Let’s say it cost $4000 to press the first disk. (I’m making up numbers here, don’t quote me.) The second disk will not make the cost go up significantly, since the press is already set, as it were. So two disks still cost $4000, but now cost $2000/disk. If the company prints 1000 disks, the total cost has gone up, but the cost-per-disk has dropped to (again, making this up *completely*) $5/disk. Got that? Okay, so.

Company A sells individual DVDs in nice boxes, with pretty pictures, etc, and the total thing costs (fictitiously speaking) $8/disk, not including cost of promotion, distribution, etc. So they sell it for, say $20, and make enough to cover the costs, plus a bit towards the next disk in the set. Still with me?

Now, after Company A has sold as many of the single-DVDs as possible, there are *plenty* of people who would still like the anime, but didn’t want to spend $120 for it. So they take the disks (which are now at a low cost-per-disk, because it’s the end of the run, not the beginning) and repackage them into a season set and charge, say $40. At this point, the cost-per-disk, even with packaging and distribution, etc, has fallen, so the company scrapes up more sales from something that costs them less. Same thing, one more time, with thinpaks. After an anime is past its shelf life it’ll go on discount – that’s a few more sales for the last, and thus cheapest, disks.

That having been said, American otaku are not like Japanese otaku. Japanese otaku express their devotion to a series through buying obsessively. The more DVDs, figurines, etc., one has, the more uber you are. Simon Jones of Icarus Publishing has a great summation of this that I strongly recommend for light reading. (Blog reasonably NSFW, but totally worth reading!) American otaku are not willing to part with $ as an expression of love, so most anime companies are moving to that season or half-season box set format. I approve, if only for the fact that I am now completely out of room on my lovely shelves.

Anyway – I hope that explains the “why” behind the repackaging and discounting thing. And why Volume 1 in a cardboard box is passe’.

Back to news:

Right Stuff has announced the release of a season set for Gakuen Alice. I know many people did not see it as a Yuri series. Many people did. I’ve just reviewed Volume 5 of the manga and see nothing as of yet to dissuade me of the notion. (Yes, I *know* later volumes, blah, blah, blah. My delusion is mine. So there, nyeh.)

Katherine is pleased to tell us that, after she ragged a bit at them, the Afterellen editors caved and announced the coming of Sasamikikoto and Aoi Hana animes. She promises to now rag at them about YM6. lol

In other anime news, Sean unenthusiastically reports that there will be a Venus Versus Virus season set coming out soon from Funimation, as well.

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Yuri Manga

Anime News Network reports that both Strike Witches and Koihime Musou will be getting manga in the near future. So moe Yuri fans will have something else to read in scanlation, not buy, and then complain about. Phew.

Not in the least least, Yuri Monogatari 6 has been shipped to the distributor and will hit the stores and Amazon as soon as it’s processed. Yay! I still haven’t seen it myself, however and am waiting for the shipment to arrive here, where non-bookstore or Amazon pre-orders and direct orders will be processed as *soon* as I get the darn things! I cannot wait to see it.

Let me unashamedly plug YM6 for all of you Yuri fans who want to see more actual women in love with other actual women and less schoolgirls, first crushes and not-gay couples. It is the *only* Yuri publication that honestly and openly represents the GLBT world.

And please put our YM6 Launch Party on your calendar – April 18th, in Secaucus, NJ. Spend a night with the artists behind YM6 – get your copy autographed and have some good, clean, Yuri fun!

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One last thing before I finish up today. Both the 4th season of Maria-sama ga Miteru and the Mariaholic anime finished up this week. I just watched the Marimite finale – it was exactly what I hoped for and handled beautifully. I am convinced that there will be no 5th season, but of course I still wish for 4 OVAs to cover 4 of the novels that got left out that I *really* would pay money for. However…one never knows. I will watch the end of Mariaholic as well and if time permits, write a compare and contrast, because…why not? :-)

Anyway, there’s your news for the week! See you next week with more great Yuri news!

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Yuri Anime: Simoun, Volume 5 (English)

September 19th, 2008

Sometimes, the worst part of a choice is the time before the decision is made. The doubts, the waffling, the feeling of “what if?”

In Simoun Volume 5, all the choices are made, the cards are dealt and the fate of not only the Sibylla of Chor Tempest, but all the people whose lives touched theirs, is decided.

I don’t think I breathed once while watching this volume.

There are many people who did not enjoy Simoun. It was non-linear. There were giant holes in the construct of the world in which the Sibylla lived (although if you like your worlds tidy, I can’t *imagine* that there’s too much anime that suits you. Maddening inconsistency is about the only constant.) We never really learn the answers to a lot of our questions.

Honestly, I can’t imagine caring a damn about any of that. This series has beautiful art (with the exception of Nevril’s sex-doll mouth,) amazing characters, fantastic music, a terrific plot. And…above all…it made me realize exactly what I think makes a good story.

To me, a *good* story travels a considerable distance in character development from the moment we meet the character to the moment we last see him or her. If the characters grow, change, respond to circumstances and learn from their experiences and choices – that is a good story. If the character starts the story and ends it roughly the same, I might enjoy it, but I won’t consider it *good.*

So, Strawberry Panic (anime), for instance, isn’t *good* by my standard; Nagisa and Shizuma do change a little bit from the beginning of the series to the end, but not a lot. Neviril and Aeru travel astronomical units by comparison. They pretty much reverse roles completely from the beginning of the anime to the end.

Yun, who comes to Chor Tempest seeking absolution for not dying with her previous Chor finds her absolution in saving one woman. And the rest of the Sibylla face what they thought they wanted, and found out what was really important to them after all.

If Simoun was too hard to follow or just annoying to you, I won’t try and convince you to watch it. But there is *no* doubt in my mind, that this will be the best Yuri Anime once again this year for me. (With at least two Yuri couples and as many as four if you have no pride. ^_^)

The Director comments were particularly interesting this time. The director says that, at the beginning of the volume, when Aeru confronts Neviril about her feelings, he (the director) had ceased to think of them as two girls. Also the Animation Director commented that she felt that Yun was in love with Onashia, which I completely agree with. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 9
Story – 9
Characters – 8
Yuri – 7
Service – 2

Overall – 9

Technical – 9

Couldn’t ask for better.

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Yuri Anime: Simoun, Volume 4 (English)

July 15th, 2008

It’s not uncommon to run across this comment in anime forums in any language, referring to any anime – “It gets better in later episodes.” Whether it’s correct or not is entirely dependent upon whether you *like* whatever literary theme that particular anime is abusing, of course. lol

If you have been reading my reviews of Simoun here, you will know that I thought it was pretty breathtaking right out of the gate, but indeed, it also gets better in later episodes. I know that there are many fans of the series who consider Volume 4 to be the pinnacle of achievement.

However…I have a dilemma. In order to talk to you about this particular volume coherently, I will need to spoil it. I don’t want to do that, but there’s no way to get around it. I’ll do it as gently as I can.

In Volume 4, several major themes are coming together and landing directly on the heads of the priestesses of Chor Tempest:

One – their theocracy and the government based on it is weak, corrupt and foolish.

Secondly, the lies that government is seeking to hide might well have saved them all, if they had chosen to investigate rather than avoid it for fear of proving themselves wrong.

Thirdly, the ultimate sacrifice of one of the Tempest members not only is one of the most beautiful things about the series, but serves to highlight much of what is wrong with their society.

The result is that as a team, Chor Tempest slowly pulls together – not to fight the war for their country, but to survive – and transcend – it for themselves.

In the middle of everything going on, Aeru and Neviril start to bond in a natural and real way for the first time. It looks good on them.

And last, we see the result of an Emerald Rimaajon. Despite the fact that we are told what to expect – it’s still nothing we could *ever* have expected. lol

Oh, wait, no, this is last – if you haven’t yet started to think there’s a thing between Anubituf and Guragief, you will in this volume. :-)

Once again, I’m pleased to say that the Media Blasters team did a great job, so no technical issues marred my enjoyment of the volume. And the video extra, this time with the voice actresses for Roatreamon, Mamina and Yun was, by far and away, the most natural and enjoyable of the series to date. And thanks too, to the good folks at MB for this review copy of awesome.

A fabulous volume of a fabulous series.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 9
Characters – 7 (a point off, because several of them are still wallowing in issues that we thought were, and should have been, previously resolved.)
Yuri – 4
Service – 5 (we spend an awful lot of time in the showers, don’t we?)

Overall – 8

I pretty much held my breath through this entire volume. It’s simply magnificent.

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Yuri Anime: Simoun, Volume 3 (English)

May 23rd, 2008

You know those moments?

When you’re watching a really good anime and all of a sudden you think, “Crichey, this anime is stellar.”

Volume 3 of Simoun is when an excellent series becomes stellar.

I took 4 pages of notes about things I wanted to mention, but I realized that if I mention any of them, I will simply be spoiling things. So I really can’t talk about what happens in Volume 3, except to say that *everything* changes in this volume. Episode 13 is particularly key, there are so many details; so many little, extremely subtle touches that it would be impossible to notice them all, but when taken together make a piece of anime that is absolutely stunning.

Now I remember why I said this was the best series of the year – because it was! What fantastic writing, what brilliant characters, what a delicatly crafted and well-handled plot.

Let me digress – plot, in anime is often treated as a nag. If it gets any attention at all, it’s whipped and beaten until the poor thing is lifeless. Not here – the plot in Simoun is treated like the thoroughbred it is. Handled by skilled trainers and given the finest feed, what we get in Volume 3 is nothing less than anime its best. (And just in case you think I’m overthinking this, wait until you listen to the staff commentary on the extras – it will prove to you that I am not at all exagerrating in the slightest. So there, nyah.)

But, here’s the thing that I really want to say about this volume. Media Blasters did a fabulous job on this volume. Not a typo, not even an awkward moment of translation. This was the best work I’ve ever seen from MB – it was up to the standards of the anime itself. What a genuine pleasure to be able to simply enjoy the excellent translation without worrying about technical details. Thank you, thank you Media Blasters! Great work.

And, while I’m thanking them – thanks to them too, for adding me into the credits under “Special Thanks To”. I have to admit, it made me go a little blushy, but considering that all I do is rag on you guys, I can’t imagine what you’re thanking *me* for. LOL

The extras were interesting once again. I already mentioned the fascinating Staff Interview, but also included was an interview with Yukana (Dominura) and Noto Mamiko (Rimone) – and unlike the other cast interviews, they were totally relaxed and comfortable talking to each other. :-) But – why are we still getting snotty asides from the lollipop and not being allowed to just hear them talk? Beats me.

Anyway, did I mention that this volume was stellar? It was. Every second of watching the first two volumes is made completely worthwhile when you watch Volume 3.

Ratings:

Art – 7 (I’m being a little kind here, it’s so variable)
Story – 10
Characters – 9
Yuri – 7
Service – 6, but they make them pay for it, by reminding the viewers that Wapourif is really male. Hah.

Overall – 9

Stellar. Stupendous. Spectacular. Splendid. Superb. Superior. Stunning. “S” is for Simoun.

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